(PCM) It is with great sadness that we have learned that Harper Lee, author of the famed novel “To Kill A Mockingbird” has passed away at the age of 89. The novel earned the Alabama native author numerous accolades over the years and became one of the most well-known and loved stories of the 20th century. To date, “To Kill A Mockingbird” has sold more than 30 million copies worldwide and has become a staple in American classic literature. It has also been translated in 18 different languages.
In a statement, Lee oldest nephew Hank Conner says “This is a sad day for our family. America and the world knew Harper Lee as one of the last century’s most beloved authors. We knew her as Nelle Harper Lee, a loving member of our family, a devoted friend to the many good people who touched her life, and a generous soul in our community and our state. We will miss her dearly.”
“To Kill A Mockingbird” earned Lee the Pulitzer Prize for literature in 1961 and up until July of 2015 it was the only novel that Lee would publish. She rediscovered a manuscript for “Go Set A Watchmen” which is essentially a sequel to “To Kill a Mockingbird,” although it was finished earlier and it was finally released in July 2015 much to the delight of fans.
After the initial release of “To Kill A Mockingbird”, Lee chose to live her life out of the spotlight, almost to the point of being a recluse, turning down multiple interview requests and leading a very private life at her home in Monroeville, Alabama. She never married and little is known about the later years of her life.
“To Kill A Mockingbird” was adapted into a screenplay in 1962 and the film version of the story starred actor Gregory Peck, who would go on to win the Academy Award for his portrayal of “To Kill A Mockingbird” protagonist Atticus Finch. Lee became very good friends with Peck and his family during the filming and called the adaptation “one of the best translations from book to film ever made”.
Lee claims that she never expected “To Kill A Mockingbird” to receive the kind of praise it has over the years and was amazed when “Go Set A Watchman” quickly became a best-seller as well, selling over 1 million copies the week it was released. Our sincere condolences go out to the family and friends of Harper Lee during this difficult time!