Harper Lee, whose debut novel, “To Kill a Mockingbird,” immortalized her name with its story of justice and race in a small Southern town and became a classic of 20th Century American literature, has died in her sleep in Alabama. She was 89.
The family said in a statement that ‘her passing was unexpected. She remained in good basic health until her death’
Her magnum opus- To Kill a Mockingbird depicts the strivings of a small-town Alabama lawyer, Atticus Finch, on behalf of Tom Robinson, a black man charged with raping a white woman, and it casts the events through the lens of Finch’s precocious daughter, Scout.
The book, released in 1960, has been sold 40 million copies by the turn of the century.
It won the Pulitzer Prize in 1961. Just a year later, it was adapted into an Academy Award-winning film.
“Many people describe her as an introvert, many people explain her as being extremely shy, she was neither an introvert nor shy,” Flynt says. “She was a private woman, she lived very much within herself, she was quite content within herself.”
Lee was awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom for her work in 2007, and a National Medal of Arts in 2010.
Last year, after some 55 years of waiting, Lee published her second novel, Go Set a Watchman.