By: Sarah Nordberg
Harper Lee is set to release her second novel, Go Set a Watchman on July 14. The novel will be a sequel to the Pulitzer Prize winning To Kill a Mockingbird, which was published in 1960.
Lee’s first novel is about Scout, a young girl living in Maycomb, Al. during the Great Depression. It discusses racial inequality and injustices in the U.S. from the point of view of a young child in the south.
To Kill a Mockingbird quickly became popular, and Lee was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1961. The novel has become a fixture in American literature.
It is on the Library of Congress’s Books that Shaped America list, and it is also the most widely read book for students in grades 9 through 12.
Lee’s new novel is set 20 years after To Kill a Mockingbird and follows an adult Scout, who returns to Al. from her new home in N.Y. to visit her father Atticus. Now in the midst of the Civil Rights Movement, Scout is left to encounter her past, racial tensions in America, and the Southern culture she was raised in.
Go Set a Watchman was actually written before To Kill a Mockingbird in the mid-fifties. Lee was encouraged by publishers to explore Scout’s past first, which led to her original novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. The original novel had been lost and forgotten, but was found attached to a manuscript by Lee’s friend and lawyer Tonja Carter.
Lee, now 88, was hesitant to publish the second novel, but ultimately decided to do it with encouragement from those who had read it.
Two million copies of the novel will be released by Harper Publishing this summer.