“To Kill A Mockingbird” will soon have a sequel.
Pulitzer-Prize winning author Harper Lee will release “Go Set a Watchman” on July 14, The Associated Press reported on Tuesday. Lee completed the novel more than 60 years ago during the 1950s, but set it aside. Her lawyer, Tonja Carter, reportedly found the original manuscript last fall.
“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,” Lee, now 88, said in a statement issued by Harper.
The literary work was finished before “To Kill a Mockingbird,” but it is being considered essentially a follow-up to that iconic best-seller. The 304-page book will be Lee’s second, and first to be released in more than 50 years. Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, plans a first printing of 2 million copies. It will also be available in an electronic edition.
“To Kill a Mockingbird” is a novel about Scout Finch, a 6-year-old girl growing up during the 1930s in Maycomb, Alabama. It loosely is based on Lee’s observations as a child being raised during the Depression-era South. The book, which won a Pulitzer Prize, is among the most beloved and classic American novels since its release on July 11, 1960. Its sales have topped 40 million copies, and it was made into a Oscar-winning movie of the same name in 1962.
The new book reportedly takes place during the mid-1950s and features many of the same characters from “To Kill a Mockingbird,” 20 years after the events of the first book. Scout has returned to Maycomb from New York to visit her father Atticus, the legendary attorney portrayed in Lee’s first novel. She tries to reconcile some of her father’s attitudes toward society with her own feelings about where she was raised as a child.
“In the mid-1950s, I completed a novel called ‘Go Set a Watchman.’ 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,” Lee said in the statement on Tuesday.
“To Kill a Mockingbird” has been banned over the years because of its language and racial themes. Still, it remains an enduring popular read for middle and high school students.