by BRIANNA SICILIANO Social Media Coordinator
At the age of 88, Harper Lee, the author of the classic “To Kill A Mockingbird”, has just revealed that a long-awaited sequel will be released on July 14.
“To Kill A Mockingbird”‘s sequel, entitled “Go Set a Watchman,” was written over 50 years ago. The sequel was actually written before her legendary (and only published) book, so why did it take this long to finally be published?
In a statement that Lee recently released, she shares that when she was a young woman and a first-time writer, she wrote “Go Set a Watchman” about a woman who was referred to as Scout. In the story, Scout returns to her hometown, Maycomb, to visit her father, Atticus.
Lee sent her manuscript to an editor, who asked Lee to rewrite the story. Instead of the novel being written in the perspective of a woman, Lee was asked to write Scout’s story as a child.
“I was a first-time writer, so I did as I was told,” said Lee.
When she was finished, “To Kill a Mockingbird,” a novel that has sold over 40 million copies since its publishing in the 1960s, was brought to life, and Scout’s original story, “Go Set a Watchman,” was pushed aside and forgotten.
“I hadn’t realized [“Go Set a Watchman”] had survived, so [I] was surprised and delighted when my dear friend and lawyer Tonja Carter discovered it. 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. I am humbled and amazed that this will now be published after all these years,” revealed Lee.
“Go Set a Watchman” is a 304-page book that takes place 20 years after “To Kill A Mockingbird” in the same fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama. Jean Louise Finch, also known as Scout, returns home to visit her father.
This sequel (technically the prequel) speaks of the racial tensions brewing in the South in the 1950s and digs deeper into the complex relationship between a father and daughter.
Lee plans on publishing two million first-print copies of her “new” novel, along with electronic editions.
Because this sequel seems like it is being released out of the blue, Lee felt the need to defend herself and her writing. She dismissed all of the rumors of being pressured, saying, “[I am] alive and kicking and happy as hell with the reactions to Watchman.”
“Lee’s book ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ was a very powerful piece of literature. I am very excited to find out what happens to Scout over the next 20 years of her life, and I cannot help but wonder how Scout will see the world as she grows older. I cannot believe how long it has taken Lee to publish this book, but overall I hope that this novel will be as well put-together as her first released novel was,” said senior Bree McKenna.
“To Kill a Mockingbird” is a part of our school’s curriculum, and is usually read sophomore year. If you have read it, what are your thoughts on the soon-to-be sequel?