Harper Lee has announced plans to publish a sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird this summer. The long-awaited sequel, titled Go Set a Watchman, is set 20 years after To Kill a Mockingbird ends. Although it was written in the mid 1950s, the manuscript was kept in a “secure location” for nearly 60 years.
As reported by USA Today, Harper Lee actually wrote Go Set a Watchman first. In the novel, an adult Scout returns to Maycomb, Alabama, to visit her father. As a result, 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.”
When Lee submitted the manuscript to her editor, she was encouraged to write another novel about Scout’s childhood.
Harper Lee followed her editor’s advice. The resulting novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, was a great success. Unfortunately, Go Set a Watchman was pushed aside and forgotten.
Nearly six decades later, the original manuscript was discovered by Lee’s attorney, Tonja Carter. The 88-year-old author said she was stunned, as she “hadn’t realized it had survived.”
Harper Lee said she was hesitant to share the manuscript with others. However, she was “pleased to hear that they considered it worthy of publication.” The Pulitzer Prize-winning writer said she is “humbled and amazed that [the book] will be published after all these years.”
To Kill a Mockingbird was originally published in 1960. Set in the 1930s, the novel followed the story of six-year-old Scout Finch. As it addresses several controversial issues, including race relations, the coming-of-age novel became an instant classic.
The beloved novel sold more then 40 million copies and was later adapted into a film starring Gregory Peck. It was also honored with a Pulitzer Prize in 1961.
Although her first novel was a great success, Harper Lee never published another book. In later years, she was notoriously reclusive and hesitant to discuss To Kill a Mockingbird.
As reported by Washington Post, publisher Jonathan Burnham said the release of Go Set a Watchman is a “remarkable literary event.” He describes the novel as “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.”
Publisher Harper confirmed that the first printing will include two million copies. The release date is set for July 14. Although Harper Lee is delighted that her second novel is being published, she is not expected to consent to a publicity tour.
[Image via CDN]