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Harper Lee, author of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ dies at age 89

Harper Lee, the author of Pulitzer Prize winning “To Kill a Mockingbird,” has died at 89.

Nelle Harper Lee, a descendent of Southern Civil War general Robert E. Lee, was born in 1926 in Monroeville, Alabama. Her father practiced law and served in the Alabama State Legislature from 1926 to 1938, as well as being a newspaper editor and proprietor.

Lee studied law at the University of Alabama and wrote for the university’s paper but never finished her degree.

Lee moved to New York City in 1949 and wrote in her spare time. In spring of 1957, Lee, then 31 years old, delivered the first manuscript for “Go Set a Watchman” to her agent in hopes it’d be sent to publishers. Through years of editing and drafting, the book finally formed into the beloved “To Kill a Mockingbird,” published in 1960.

“To Kill a Mockingbird” won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction the year after its publication and has sold more than 10 million copies. The novel surrounds issues of rape and racial segregation. It was adapted into a film, released in 1962, starring Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch.

In February 2015, Lee’s publisher, Harper, announced that it would publish the manuscript of “Go Set a Watchman,” which set a record for the highest adult one-day sales at Barnes & Noble, which also included digital and pre-order sales.

Many authors, newspapers and fans of Lee took to Twitter to share their condolences and celebrate the life of the prize-winning author.

John Green, author of “The Fault In Our Stars,” tweeted, “The great Harper Lee has died at the age of 89,” sharing an article from Alabama Local News.

NPR shared a recipe for boozy Lane Cake, which is mentioned in “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

The Guardian, The Boston Globe and Penguin Books all shared their articles on the author’s death and her accomplishments.

About The Author

Allie Taylor

Allie Taylor is a rising senior in the journalism program, and has dedicated most of her life to writing (whether scooping stories on campus, or practicing her creative fiction). She can recite the entirety of Bo Burnham’s “What?” and loves marathons… of Netflix, of course. When Taylor is not in the newsroom, you can find her rehearsing with the cast and crew of S(He) Will Fade, drinking her weight in coffee at Starbucks or burrito-ing herself in a blanket in her dorm room.

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