The great literary legend Harper Lee, passed away at the age of 89 on February19, 2016. Lee was just a young woman of 34 when her iconic book “To Kill a Mockingbird” was released. A book simply adored by her readers, is about a White American attorney, new in his line, trying to defend a black guy who was accused of raping a white girl during the time when racial prejudice was very high. This book created quite a stir, especially since US Civil Rights Movement was gaining speed at that time.
Harper Lee became very famous, with her book selling more than 30 million copies worldwide. She even received the ‘Pulitzer Award’ for her book. It received universal acclamation and in 2007 George W. Bush, the then American President conferred upon her the prestigious “Presidential Medal of Freedom”. Here are 10 things about her which you probably did not know.
#11 Harper Lee’s full name was “Nelle Harper Lee”, kept after her mother’s name, Ellen Finch.
Harper Lee always chose to use her middle name instead of her first name because she was afraid that people might mispronounce her name as “Nellie”.
#10 She lived a frugal life
Even though she received huge profits after her book “To Kill a Mockingbird” , she chose to live a very frugal life with her older sister, Alice. She mostly shopped from Walmart outlets. But she donated huge sum of money to charities.
#9 The character of ‘Atticus Finch’, in her book “To Kill a Mockingbird” was based on her father who was also an attorney.
#8 Harper Lee and Truman Capote were good friends.
The duo traveled together to Kansas for Truman’s book In Cold Blood. The character of Dill in To Kill A Mockingbird was inspired by Truman. The two stopped talking after Lee won Pulitzer prize for her work.
#7 Her second book was published in 2015
Her second book Go Set a Watchman was published in 2015 but it was written even before To Kill a Mockingbird. Some even consider that her second book was just a rough draft for Mockingbird which was never supposed to be published.
#6 To Kill A Mockingbird Has Been Banned Numerous Times
In spite of all the acclamation it has received and considered to be must-read book, To Kill a Mockingbird was banned several times. The Hanover County School Board of Virginia banned the book and termed it as an “immoral literature”.
#5 Peck and Lee Friendship
Harper Lee wanted Spencer Tracy to play the role of ‘Atticus’ in Mockingbird but Gregory Peck signed for the film. Later, she became great friends with Peck, and Peck went on to name his grandson Harper Peck, named after Lee.
#4 The British Museum and Archives Council Voted “To Kill a Mockingbird” as a book everyone should read before death. Bible came second on their list.
#3 The last interview Harper lee gave was in the year 1964.
#2 Oprah Winfrey requested Harper Lee to join her on an interview which she politely declined. But later she did have a lunch with her and they got along very well.
#1 Harper Lee once told Oprah Winfrey that she is very old fashioned. Her book To Kill A Mockingbird was published as e-book in 2014.
Featured Image Source: socialnewsdaily.com