Nelle Harper Lee (born April 28, 1926) is an American author known for her 1960 Pulitzer-Prize-winning novel To Kill a Mockingbird, which deals with the issues of racism that were observed by Lee as a child in her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama. Other contributions include helping her close friend Truman Capote in his research for In Cold Blood.
They say that while To Kill A Mockingbird is ostensibly a courtroom thriller – in which Scout’s compassionate and principled lawyer father Atticus Finch defends a black man falsely accused of raping a white woman – Harper drew on deeply painful family secrets to create her protagonists.
Harper Lee is being awarded America's highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, for her outstanding contribution to literature. Her only novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, won the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and is ranked by the Guinness Book of World Records as the top selling novel of all time.
There, the South Alabama Writers' Symposium was giving out its Harper Lee Award for Alabama’s Distinguished Writer of the Year.
The two traveled to Kansas to interview townspeople, friends and family of the deceased, and the investigators working to solve the crime. Serving as his research assistant, Lee helped with the interviews, eventually winning over some of the locals with her easy-going, unpretentious manner.
Most part of her childhood was spent in a small town being a tomboy with close friend Truman Capote who too became a famous writer. Unlike girls of her age, Lee was as tough as boys and always stood up for Truman when he was being picked on by other boys for being sissy and dressing up in fancy clothes.
In other words all I want to be is the Jane Austen of south Alabama.
She also went to Oxford University as an exchange student for one year. Soon after returning from Oxford, Lee realized her career was in writing and not law.
Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird highlights instances of heroism and courage in a small Alabama town riddled with the poverty and racial tensions characteristic of the south in 1935.
Lee's classic, read today in classrooms throughout the country, has sold more than 30 million copies and made a lasting impact on many writers through the years. It was also turned into an Oscar-winning movie in 1962
The author of the much-loved novel "To Kill a Mockingbird" has kept to herself since the book's publication in 1960, eventually moving back to Alabama, and never publishing another book.
her fiction was certainly influenced and shaped by her childhood experiences, shared with a brother and two sisters and fellow author-to-be Truman Capote, a frequent summer visitor to Monroeville.
Furthermore, her liberal views on race were extremely unpopular in her native Deep South. Indeed many in her own family were unhappy with the tone of her book.
Lee: I suppose I worked on it in elapsed time of two years. The actual span of time was closer to three, but because of many family problems and personal problems I would have to quit at intervals and pick it up again. Two years would be it.
At a time in the South when it was outrageous and practically unthinkable for a white person to look at the world from a minority’s perspective, Harper Lee has Atticus explain to Scout: "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view—until you climb into his skin and walk around in it"