Harper Lee to release 2nd book

Francie Johnson

Author Harper Lee’s name is instantly recognizable due to her one iconic novel: “To Kill a Mockingbird.” In the 50-plus years since the book’s 1960 publication, Lee has never had another novel published – but that will soon change. 

Before University of Alabama alum Lee wrote “To Kill a Mockingbird,” she had already completed another manuscript, “Go Set a Watchman” featuring the character of Scout as an adult woman. Now, more than half a century later, the book is set for a mid-July publication.  

“My editor, who was taken by the flashbacks to Scout’s childhood, persuaded me to write a novel from the point of view of the young Scout,” Lee wrote in a press release. “I was a first-time writer, so I did as I was told.”

Lee set aside the manuscript for “Go Set a Watchman,” never to return to it. It wasn’t until fall 2014, when her friend and lawyer Tonja Carter discovered the original manuscript, that Lee was even aware the book had survived. 

“After much thought and hesitation, I shared it with a handful of people I trust and was pleased to hear that they considered it worthy of publication,” Lee wrote. “I am humbled and amazed that this will now be published after all these years.”

“Go Set a Watchman” will be published on July 14, 2015, mere days after the 55th anniversary of “To Kill a Mockingbird”s original publication in July 1960.

“This is a remarkable literary event,” Jonathan Burnham, Senior Vice President and Publisher at HarperCollins, wrote in a press release. “The existence of ‘Go Set a Watchman’ was unknown until recently, and its discovery is an extraordinary gift to the many readers and fans of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird.'”

The book features many of the same characters in “To Kill a Mockingbird,” 20 years later. It follows Scout (Jean Louise Finch) as she returns to the fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama, from New York to visit her father, Atticus.

“Reading in many ways like a sequel to Harper Lee’s classic novel, it is a compelling and ultimately moving narrative about a father and a daughter’s relationship, and the life of a small Alabama town living through the racial tensions of the 1950s,” Burnham said.