In what is surely the publishing event of the year, the publisher Harper has announced that Harper Lee’s second novel — the sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird — will be published on July 14, 2015. The novel is titled Go Set a Watchman, and it features the character Scout Finch as an adult. The book, which was written before To Kill a Mockingbird, was discovered last fall.
In an incredible statement released by her publisher, the 88 year-old Lee writes:
In the mid-1950s, I completed a novel called Go Set a Watchman, the 88-year-old Lee said in a statement issued by Harper. It features the character known as Scout as an adult woman, and I thought it a pretty decent effort. My editor, who was taken by the flashbacks to Scout’s childhood, persuaded me to write a novel (what became `To Kill a Mockingbird’) from the point of view of the young Scout.
On the decision not to publish the novel more than fifty years ago, Lee adds:
I was a first-time writer, so I did as I was told. I hadn’t realized it (the original book) had survived, so 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.
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Literature, To Kill a Mockingbird has sold more than 40 million copies globally, though its author has rarely spoken to the press over the course of five decades. It has the distinction of being among the most banned and beloved books in the American literary canon.
Go Set a Watchman will follow Scout as she visits her father, Atticus, in New York, where she “is forced to grapple with issues both personal and political as she tries to understand her father’s attitude toward society, and her own feelings about the place where she was born and spent her childhood.”