Harper Lee has diedLos Angeles Post-Examiner

Harper Lee, beloved American novelist, has died

The Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Harper Lee, has passed away, according to officials in her home town of Monroeville, Alabama, including the mayor. She was 89.

Lee is best known for her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, an exposé of race in the South, as well as the family relationships in a small, Alabama town. It was made into an award-winning, popular movie, starring Gregory Peck, two years after the book was published.

Lee had been an very private person in the past three decades and her neighbors guarded her privacy when tourists visited hoping to see the author.

Nelle Harper Lee was a fixture in the New York literary scene from the late 1950s until she went back to her hometown to be with her sister. Author Truman Capote had been Lee’s neighbor in Monroeville and they were close friends in New York.

She traveled to Kansas with Capote to help him with the research for an article about the execution of two murderers. It eventually became an award-winning novel for Capote, In Cold Blood. It too became an award-winning film.

Once Lee’s sister Alice needed help in Alabama, she left New York and lived the rest of her life in her hometown.

In 2007 Lee received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and in 2010 she was awarded the National Medal of Arts.

In 2015 she published her second novel, Go Set a Watchman, to much shock and controversy. After Mockingbird Lee said she would never write or publish another novel. so when Watchman was published people wondered what was going on with Harper Lee.

A judge in Alabama convened a hearing to judge if Lee was competent enough to make decisions for herself; debates raged about how the book came about. It was found in Lee’s safe deposit box by her lawyer Tonja Carter, who then got it into the hands of Lee’s agent and then to HarperCollins who published it.

It was at first thought to be a sequel to Mockingbird, but later it was confirmed to be the first draft of To Kill a Mockingbird. Lee’s lawyer said the author was “happy as Hell” to have it published. Many people, including the Peck family questioned the wisdom of publishing an unedited version of the first book. Plus, it was published after Lee’s sister Alice passed away, causing some to suggest the Lawyer, Tonja Carter, held unto the book until Alice had died so there wouldn’t be any opposition to its publication.

Nelle Harper Lee died in her sleep this morning at the age of 89.

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