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Harper Lee’s novel, Go Set a Watchman, has gone on sale around the world.

The book is set 20 years after the events of Harper Lee’s 1960 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel To Kill a Mockingbird.

In Harper Lee’s hometown, Monroeville in Alabama, a delivery of 7,000 copies of Go Set a Watchman arrived at the small independent Ol’ Curiosities and Book Shoppe shortly before midnight.

The book contains some of the same characters at Mockingbird, including Scout and her father Atticus Finch. It has already proved controversial as early reviewers noted that Atticus Finch expresses racist views in the story.Go set a Watchman released 2015

The story opens with Scout, now 26 and known as Jean Louise, returning on a train to her Alabama hometown from New York.

Harper Lee, who is now 89 and lives in a nursing home in Monroeville, originally wrote the book in 1957, before reworking it with her editor to become courtroom drama To Kill a Mockingbird.

The story of racism and injustice in the fictional town of Maycomb in the American South went on to sell 40 million copies and be studied in schools around the world.

To Kill a Mockingbird was also made into an Oscar-winning film starring Gregory Peck as lawyer Finch, who defends an innocent black man accused of raping a white woman.

The existence of Go Set a Watchman was revealed in February 2015 and it is being released in 70 countries simultaneously.

The opening chapter of the novel was published for the first time on July 10, and many early reviews revealed that in later years Finch had in fact become “a bigot”.

The New York Times said the revelation could “reshape Ms Lee’s legacy” and made for “disturbing reading”.



Harper Lee had plans to write a string of novels after To Kill A Mockingbird, a letter the author wrote before the book was published has revealed.

In the letter, sent two years before To Kill A Mockingbird came out in 1960, she listed six ideas that she thought would occupy her for the next 15 years.

Harper Lee has not written a full novel since To Kill A Mockingbird‘s success.

However, a manuscript she wrote before that book, Go Set A Watchman, has been found and will be published next week.

Harper Lee wrote Go Set a Watchman in the mid-1950s – but her editor persuaded her to turn some of the story’s flashback sequences into a separate novel.Harper Lee novels 2015

That novel became To Kill A Mockingbird, which went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and is regarded as one of the greatest novels of the 20th Century.

In 1958, Harper Lee wrote to her friend Joy Brown who, along with her husband Michael, had given her money to leave her job and focus on writing.

Harper Lee told them she was trying to finish “My Novel”. She described it as “the hardest damn thing to write I’ve ever attempted” and added: “I’m about six weeks’ gone with another one.”

The author then went on to list ideas for future books.

“I have my work cut out for me for the next fifteen years:

  • (1) Race Novel
  • (2) Victorian Novel
  • (3) What Mr. Graham Greene calls An Entertainment
  • (4) I’m gonna tear Monroeville to pieces (1958 Monroeville)
  • (5) A Novel of The United Nations
  • (6) India, 1910

“Can you feed and lodge me so long?” Harper Lee then asked.

The absence of any novels by Harper Lee in the last 55 years means Go Set A Watchman is one of the most hotly anticipated releases in publishing history.

It is known that Harper Lee did attempt to write more after To Kill A Mockingbird.

The New Yorker recently documented that, in the late 1970s, Harper Lee worked on a true crime novel titled The Reverend, about an Alabama preacher who was accused of five murders.

However, Harper Lee dropped the idea because she said she did not “have enough hard facts about the actual crimes for a book-length account”, The New Yorker reported.


The inquiry into whether author Harper Lee was pressured into publishing a To Kill A Mockingbird sequel has been closed.

The Alabama Securities Commission led the investigation, which helps prevent financial fraud against 88-year-old Harper Lee.

After an agent interviewed Harper Lee, the commission’s head said he was satisfied she wanted a second book published.

The new work – Go Set a Watchman – will be Harper Lee’s first release since the 1960s.Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman

The surprise move prompted some suggestions Harper Lee was manipulated into publishing the decades-old manuscript, which was discovered by her lawyer in the author’s possessions last year.

“We closed the file. Let’s just say that she was able to answer questions we asked to our satisfaction from our point of view,” said Joseph Borg, Alabama Securities Commission director.

The New York Times reported that the investigation was sparked by requests from a doctor that the state investigates whether Harper Lee was capable to have consented to the release of the work.

Harper Lee herself was “extremely hurt” by allegations she was manipulated, her lawyer Tonja Carter said.

To Kill a Mockingbird was published in July 1960 and has sold more than 40 million copies around the world.

Go Set a Watchman was written before To Kill A Mockingbird, and features many of the same characters, with an adult Scout Finch returning to her native Alabama from New York to visit her father.

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Harper Lee’s unpublished novel Go Set a Watchman is to be released 60 years after the author put it aside to write To Kill a Mockingbird.

Go Set a Watchman, which features the character of Scout as an adult, will be released on July 14.

Harper Lee wrote the novel in the mid-1950s but put it aside on the advice of her editor.

“I thought it a pretty decent effort.” said the author in a statement.

Photo AP

Photo AP

“I am humbled and amazed that this will now be published after all these years.”

Set in the fictional southern town of Maycomb during the mid-1950s, Go Set a Watchman sees Scout return from New York to visit her father, the lawyer Atticus Finch.

According to the publisher’s announcement: “She is forced to grapple with issues both personal and political as she tries to understand her father’s attitude toward society, and her own feelings about the place where she was born and spent her childhood.”


To Kill a Mockingbird author Harper Lee has denied she approved the writing of a memoir about her life in Alabama by former neighbor Marja Mills.

“Rest assured, as long as I am alive any book purporting to be with my cooperation is a falsehood,” Harper Lee, 88, wrote in a letter.

Its circulation coincided with the publication of the book, by former Chicago Tribune reporter Marja Mills.

Marja Mills responded by saying her book had the “blessing” of Harper Lee and her sister.

The writer moved next door to Harper Lee and Alice Lee’s Monroeville home in 2004, remaining there for 18 months.

“Nelle Harper Lee and Alice F. Lee were aware I was writing this book,” she went on.

“The stories they shared with me that I recount in the book speak for themselves.”

Harper Lee first distanced herself from The Mockingbird Next Door: Life with Harper Lee when Penguin announced its publication in 2011

Harper Lee first distanced herself from The Mockingbird Next Door: Life with Harper Lee when Penguin announced its publication in 2011 (photo Penguin)

Harper Lee first distanced herself from The Mockingbird Next Door: Life with Harper Lee when Penguin announced its publication in 2011.

At the time, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author said she had not “willingly participated” or “authorized” [sic] the book and that “any claims otherwise [were] false”.

Harper Lee reiterated her position earlier this week, claiming Marja Mills had befriended her sister and that she had been “hurt, angry and saddened, but not surprised” to discover her “true mission” had been “another book about Harper Lee”.

“I immediately cut off all contact with Miss Mills, leaving town whenever she headed this way.”

In her rebuttal, Marja Mills referred to a letter she received from Alice Lee in 2011 saying her sister’s initial denial had been written by others for her to sign.

“Poor Nelle Harper can’t see and can’t hear and will sign anything put before her by anyone in whom she has confidence,” Alice Lee’s letter went on.

Harper Lee’s latest letter says her sister “would have been 100 years old at the time” she made that statement.

In her book, Marja Mills writes that she became part of the Lee sisters’ social circle and that she had won their trust.

On Tuesday, Penguin Press said it was “proud” to publish the memoir, which it said had been “a labor [sic] of love”.

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Harper Lee’s lawsuit filed against a museum in her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama, has been reinstated by a federal judge.

Harper Lee sought the reinstatement of the lawsuit after her attorneys said settlement talks with the Monroe County Heritage Museum failed

Harper Lee sought the reinstatement of the lawsuit after her attorneys said settlement talks with the Monroe County Heritage Museum failed

Judge William Steele signed an order Thursday granting To Kill a Mockingbird author’s request to reinstate her suit.

Harper Lee, 88, sought the reinstatement after her attorneys said settlement talks with the Monroe County Heritage Museum failed.

The author sued in 2013, accusing the museum of taking advantage of her work by selling souvenirs and using the title of her book as its website address without compensating the author.

Harper Lee and the museum filed notice of a settlement in February. That was never signed and the time for completing it ran out. Meanwhile, the museum did change its website address.

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Nelle Harper Lee, author of To Kill A Mockingbird, has settled legal action against The Monroe County Heritage Museum in her Alabama hometown, which was using her name on souvenirs.

Court documents filed by Harper Lee’s lawyer said she had reached an undisclosed agreement with The Monroe County Heritage Museum in Monroeville.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning 1960 novel was made into a film in 1962, starring Gregory Peck.

The museum is located in the former courthouse which inspired the book.

Legal papers accused the gift shop of taking advantage of Lee’s trademarks to sell book-related souvenirs including clothing and drinks coasters.

The Monroe County Heritage Museum had also used the book title as a website address without compensating the author financially.

Harper Lee has settled the legal action against The Monroe County Heritage Museum

Harper Lee has settled the legal action against The Monroe County Heritage Museum

Harper Lee’s only published novel tells the story of small-town lawyer Atticus Finch’s battle against racial prejudice as he defends a black man against an undeserved rape charge.

To Kill A Mockingbird is considered to be a modern classic and is taught in schools in the UK and the US.

Court documents show the agreement was reached just days after a judge refused to dismiss the case.

No details of the settlement were provided and a lawyer for the museum, Matthew Goforth, has declined to comment.

Harper Lee, 87, is one of 28,000 residents of Monroeville, having previously split her time between the town where she grew up and New York.

Monroeville had been split by the legal battle according to reports when the legal action was filed last year.

The museum claimed souvenir sales were vital to its survival and opposed Harper Lee’s application for a federal trademark for her book title on clothing.

Legal papers showed that the museum, which runs To Kill a Mockingbird tours and puts on a play of the book in the courtroom each year, took more than $500,000 in 2012 with $28,566 coming from souvenir sales.

A post on the museum website advertises that it has now changed its web address from www.tokillamockingbird.com to www.monroecountymuseum.org.


Harper Lee, author of To Kill A Mockingbird, has sued literary agent Samuel Pinkus, who she says tricked her into assigning him the copyright on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book.

Harper Lee, 87, says Samuel Pinkus took advantage of her failing hearing and eyesight to transfer the rights and has failed to respond to license requests.

To Kill A Mockingbird was published in 1960 and is considered a classic. It has sold more than 30 million copies.

Harper Lee is rarely seen in public and declines almost all interview requests.

Harper Lee has sued literary agent Samuel Pinkus, who she says tricked her into assigning him the copyright on To Kill A Mockingbird

Harper Lee has sued literary agent Samuel Pinkus, who she says tricked her into assigning him the copyright on To Kill A Mockingbird

The novel is the only published book by the author, who lives in Monroeville, Alabama.

In the lawsuit, Harper Lee alleges that when her long-time literary agent, Eugene Winick, became ill in 2002, his son-in-law, Samuel Pinkus, switched several of  Winick’s clients to his own company.

Samuel Pinkus is alleged to have transferred the rights to secure himself “irrevocable” interest in the income derived from Harper Lee’s book.

He also sought to avoid paying legal obligations he owed to his father-in-law’s company for royalties, according to the lawsuit.

It is further alleged that Samuel Pinkus failed to respond to offers on e-book rights and a request for assistance related to the book’s 50th anniversary.

The lawsuit bids the court to assign any rights in the book owned by Samuel Pinkus to Harper Lee and asks that she be returned any commission he took from 2007 onwards.

Samuel Pinkus did not immediately respond to an email from Reuters news agency seeking comment.

Set in Depression-era, small-town Alabama, To Kill A Mockingbird tells the story of a lawyer who defends a black man accused of raping a white woman.

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