Harper Lee (Estate)
Harper Lee (1926-2016), known as Nelle, was born in the Alabama town of Monroeville, the youngest of the four children of Amasa Coleman Lee and Frances Cunningham Finch Lee. While enrolled at Monroe County High School, Lee developed an interest in English literature. After her education at Huntingdon College in Montgomery, having written several long stories, Harper Lee found an agent in November 1956. The following month she received a gift of a year's wages with a note: "You have one year off from your job to write whatever you please. Merry Christmas." Within a year, she had a first draft.
Working with J. B. Lippincott & Co. editor Tay Hohoff, she completed To Kill a Mockingbird in the summer of 1959. Published July 11, 1960, the novel was an immediate bestseller and won great critical acclaim, including the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1961. On November 5, 2007, Lee was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Now with over 18 million copies in print and translated into forty languages. Today it is regarded as a masterpiece of American literature.
In an exciting development, a second manuscript entitled Go Set a Watchman was discovered in Autumn 2014, which had been written before To Kill a Mockingbird but was set aside in favour of the story focussing on a younger Scout. The publication of Go Set a Watchman in July 2015 made publishing history.