Alabama Authors – Harper Lee

Alabama Authors – Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird coverAs you grow older, you’ll see white men cheat black men every day of your life, but let me tell you something and don’t you forget it – whenever a white man does that to a black man, no matter who he is, how rich he is, or how fine a family he comes from, he is trash.”

–      Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird


Nelle Harper Lee only published one book, but what a book it was! The Pulitzer Prize winning To Kill a Mockingbird has more than 30 million copies in print and was voted “Best Novel of the Century” in a Library Journal poll.

Lee didn’t expect much from her novel. In fact, she said as much in a 1964 interview with Newquist.

Harper Lee youngI never expected any sort of success with Mockingbird. I was hoping for a quick and merciful death at the hands of the reviewers but, at the same time, I sort of hoped someone would like it enough to give me encouragement. Public encouragement. I hoped for a little, as I said, but I got rather a whole lot, and in some ways this was just about as frightening as the quick, merciful death I’d expected.”

A quick and merciful death. We’re sure lucky that didn’t happen!

The central character of the story, Scout, is a tomboyish figure rather like Lee herself. Scout, with her brother Jem and their friend Dill (modeled after boyhood friend, Truman Capote), become fascinated with the mysterious town character, Boo Radley and attempt to lure him out of his seclusion.

More than a coming-of-age tale, To Kill a Mockingbird explores racial prejudice in the South. Atticus Finch, the attorney father of Scout and Jem goes against social mores and alienates a good portion of his neighbors when he defends a black man who was charged with raping a white woman.

to-kill-a-mockingbirdA year after publication, the book won the Pulitzer Prize. Horton Foote went to work on a screenplay and the film was released in 1962. To Kill a Mockingbird received eight Academy Award nominations, including Best Actor for Gregory Peck.


Harper Lee oldHarper Lee now lives in an assisted-living facility, partially blind and deaf. She once told a close friend why she never wrote another book. “Two reasons: one, I wouldn’t go through the pressure and publicity I went through with To Kill a Mockingbird for any amount of money. Second, I have said what I wanted to say and I will not say it again.”

Here are some of my good blogging friends. Go over and give them a visit.

Jay Squires’ Septuagenarian Journey

The Virtual Bookcase

Quite Alone

Charming Man

SciFi Magpie



New Yesterdays is available at the following links:




About Ol' Big Jim

Ol' Big Jim, has been a storekeeper, an embalmer, a hospital orderly, a medical biller, and through it all, a teller of tall tales. Many of his stories, like his first book, New Yesterdays, are set in his hometown of Piedmont, Alabama. For seven years, he lived in the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world, Amman, Jordan where he spends his time trying to visit each one of the thousands of Ammani coffee shops and scribbling in his ever-present notebook. These days, you can find him back stateside, still filling notebooks.
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