Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Fellow Alabamian Harper Lee was born in Monroeville in 1926. It's a little town that I'm familiar with, having visited relatives living there when I was a child. Her claim to fame was one book-the only one she wrote- and boy, what a book! To Kill A Mockingbird. She completed it in 1960 and it won the Pulitzer Prize in 1961. It was named Novel of the Century in 1999 by the Library Journal. It's considered to be somewhat autobiographical with the main character tomboy Scout being herself and Scout's best friend Dill being Harper's real life best friend Truman Capote. She actually served as his assistant in Kansas when he wrote his best seller In Cold Blood. In 2007 President Bush awarded Harper Lee the Presidential Medal of Freedom. More than 30 million copies of her book have been published. As a matter of fact, it has never been out of print. Other than her book she has never published more than a few magazine articles. Today she is a recluse. She gives no interviews. Harper Lee lives in New York but frequently visits her sister in Monroeville. Hers is a charming little book. I don't know how many times I've read it. But each time is like going home again.

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