Harper Lee

By: Kalela and Sophie

Early Life

Nelle Harper Lee was born April 28, 1926, in Monroeville, Alabama. She grew up a tomboy and the youngest of four children. Lee's father was a lawyer, apart of the Alabama state legislature, and owned part of the local newspaper. Her mother suffered a mental illness and rarely left home. Its is believed that she had bipolar disorder.

As a young child she was a rough tomboy, which led her to befriend Truman Capote, who was a wimpy, sensitive boy. Harper Lee would stick up for him when he was picked on. In high school she became interested in English Literature. When she graduated in 1944, she attended an all- female Huntingdon College in Montgomery.

To Kill A Mocking Bird

In 1960, To Kill A Mocking Bird was published as the only novel by Harper Lee. It reflects the racial and political tension of the era. The story is about a confrontation between racists and Atticus Finch, an attorney who defends a black man charged with raping a white girl. This novel remained best seller for 73 weeks. To Kill A Mocking Bird earned many prestigious awards including: Alabama Library Association, Literary Guild, Book-of-the-Month Club, British Book Society, Reader's Digest Condensed Books, the Brotherhood Award from the National Conference of Christians and Jews, and $500 for the 1961 Pulitzer Prize, followed by dinner with a clutch of artists at the White House hosted by President John F. Kennedy.

Later Years

In the 1970s and 1980s, Harper Lee retreated away from the publicity of her book to a private life. She spent her time on a second novel called The Reverend. The novel was about an Alabama serial killer, but it was never published. Lee now lives a quiet life in New York and Monroeville. She avoids any kind of attention that her still popular book brings.