Harper Lee (born name: Nelle Harper Lee) died in her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama at the age of 89. The Mayor of Monroeville confirmed the news to Al.com.
After she graduated from the University of Alabama, Harper Lee moved to NYC where she worked as an airline reservationist while trying to get into the writing game. In 1960, Harper’s publisher released the classic novel that many of us read in school. (Unless, you were one of those lazies who missed out and read the CliffNotes version instead.) To Kill A Mockingbird was an instant success and it won Harper Lee the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1961. As we all know, it was turned into a movie starring hot piece Gregory Peck.
After To Kill A Mockingbird was released, Harper went to a small town in Kansas to help Truman Capote research the murder of a family. Capote’s In Cold Blood was about those murders. They made two movies about that trip: Capote starring Catherine Keener as Harper Lee and Infamous starring Sandra Bullock in a truly busted wig as Harper Lee. I still can’t with that.
Harper Lee pretty much lived in seclusion for most of her life. She didn’t give interviews and To Kill A Mockingbird was her only published novel until Go Set A Watchman was released last year. Watchman was packaged as a sequel to TKAM. There was a lot of controversy around that book. Watchman was written before TKAM and some felt like the whole release of it was shady. Harper Lee had a stroke in 2007 and lived in an assisted living facility. She had said before that she had no interest in publishing another novel. There was speculation that she was manipulated into releasing Watchman by shifty tricks who wanted to make more money off of her. Alabama officials investigated the claims and declared that Harper Lee agreed to the release of her second book without being coerced.
And now she’s in heaven, partying it up with Truman Capote.
Rest in peace, Harper Lee.