89 year old Harper Lee, who immortalised her soul with the novel ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, passed away in her hometown Monroeville in Alabama on February 19, Her literary agent Andrew Nurnberg confirmed in a statement. He said, “We have lost a great writer, a great friend and a beacon of integrity.” ( Guardian )
She was one of the most successful authors of her time, with only 2 books and 4 articles to her name. The prequel to ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ was released in 2015, titled ‘Go Set a Watchman’.
Her first book, based on family, race and justice, ‘To Kill a MockingBird’ still continues to be an international phenomena. It went on to be republished more than 4 times, translated into 40 languages ad sold 40 million copies worldwide. (Biography). She went on to win the Pulitzer Prize for it. She remains the only author so far to win a Pulitzer for her first book!
She was also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2007, from the then President George W Bush.
A tomboy attitude, Harper Lee was a rather reserved and private person. She hardly appeared for any interviews throughout her lifetime. After the unexpected tremendous success with her first novel, she moved back to Monroeville to lead a simple life.
Here is a quote from her book:
“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”
An unadmitted feminist, many of her actions and behaviour suggested that she was one. Here is a line from her book:
“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do.”