It’s hard to believe that To Kill a Mockingbird was Harper Lee’s only published book. Well that will not be the case any more.
Go Set a Watchman, a novel by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author will be released July 14. Go Set a Watchman was completed in the 1950s and will is a sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird (although it was finished earlier). The book spans 304-pages and will be Lee’s first new work in more than 50 years!
“In the mid-1950s, I completed a novel called Go Set a Watchman,” Lee, 88, said in a statement issued by Harper. “It features the character known as Scout as an adult woman, and I thought it a pretty decent effort. My editor, who was taken by the flashbacks to Scout’s childhood, persuaded me to write a novel (what became To Kill a Mockingbird) from the point of view of the young Scout.
“I was a first-time writer, so I did as I was told. I hadn’t realized it (the original book) had survived, so was surprised and delighted when my dear friend and lawyer Tonja Carter discovered it. After much thought and hesitation, I shared it with a handful of people I trust and was pleased to hear that they considered it worthy of publication. I am humbled and amazed that this will now be published after all these years.“
The new book is set in Maycomb, Alabama 20 years after To Kill a Mockingbird. The book will follow an adult Scout living in her life and exploring the relationship between her and her father’s ideals in a small Alabama town while living through the racial tensions of the 1950s. Lee wrote Watchman around the time the civil rights movement was taking hold.
“Scout (Jean Louise Finch) has returned to Maycomb from New York to visit her father, Atticus,” the publisher’s announcement reads. “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.”
“This is a remarkable literary event,” Harper publisher Jonathan Burnham said in a statement. “The existence of Go Set a Watchman was unknown until recently, and its discovery is an extraordinary gift to the many readers and fans of To Kill a Mockingbird. Reading in many ways like a sequel to Harper Lee’s classic novel, it is a compelling and ultimately moving narrative about a father and a daughter’s relationship, and the life of a small Alabama town living through the racial tensions of the 1950s.”
Lee is now 88 and states “I am humbled and amazed that this will now be published after all these years.” She has no plans to speak to the media. The last time that she spoke to the media was in the 1960’s. Its safe to say that she wants to live a quiet life – and we don’t blame her!
Go Set a Watchman will be available available July 14. Expect an electronic release as well!