The recent news that the reclusive Harper Lee, the author of the classic ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, is to release only her second novel in 55 years has set the literary world ablaze. ‘Go Set A Watchman’, a sequel to the 1960 Pulitzer Prize winner, is already a best-seller on Amazon thanks to pre-orders.

Harper Lee in 2005
Harper Lee unveils 'To Kill A Mockingbird' sequel

A huge first printing of 2 million copies is scheduled ahead of its July 14th release. The book is billed as a sequel to the events of ‘…Mockingbird’, set twenty years later in the 1950s but still centring around the perspective of Scout, now a grown woman.

However, Lee actually wrote ‘Go Set A Watchman’ before the book that made her famous, but as a first-time writer she was persuaded by her editor to write a book from the childhood perspective of its central character.

Since then, Lee had always believed the manuscript to have been lost. Happily, ‘Go Set A Watchman’ was unearthed by her lawyer, and is now set to be unveiled to the world.

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Some have expressed concerns that 88 year old Lee is “being exploited” in this deal, coming as it does a mere two months after the death of her sister Alice, to whom she particularly close and who advised her about the full range of contracts, finances and rights. Lee herself suffered a stroke a number of years ago and is believed to be blind, giving rise to questions of mental capacity to consent.

However, her international rights agent said that, having visited her in January, the author was in “great spirits and increasingly excited at the prospect of [her second] novel finally seeing the light of day.” Her friend Wayne Flynt told NPR that she is “hard of hearing, but sound of mind.”

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