Harper Lee, author of the 1960’s American classic To Kill A Mockingbird, has died at the age of 89.
The death of the American novelist was confirmed by the mayor’s office in her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama. Born Nelle Harper Lee on 28th April 1926, she was the youngest of four children to her parents, lawyer Amasa Coleman Lee and Frances Cunningham Finch Lee.
Lee became a household name after the commercial success of To Kill A Mockingbird, which has sold over 30 million copies worldwide. The novel later went on to win the Pulitzer Prize. The book focused on the racial tensions of the South and the childhood struggles of Scout and Jem Finch.
The story centred drew many paralells with Lee’s life. Born in 1926 during the height of prohibition and the Great Depression, the plot and characters are loosely based on events throughout her childhood.
Despite the success of the book, Lee only released a further novel last year, amid much controversy. Go Set A Watchman became the most pre-ordered book on Amazon and topped the US fiction bestseller charts for five weeks running.
Lee was a notoriously private individual and granted almost no request for interviews or public appearances. In 2010, Lee was awarded the National Medal of Arts, the highest award given by the US government for ‘outstanding contributions to the excellence, growth, support and availability of the arts’.
“Real courage is when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.”