Harper Lee, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author, has passed away at age 89, just seven months after releasing Go Set A Watchman, the controversial sequel to her best-selling work To Kill A Mockingbird. The writer, who had been confined to a nursing home in Alabama after being affected by a stroke in 2007, died peacefully in her sleep.
Hank Conner, Lee’s oldest nephew and spokesperson for the family, said in a statement: “This is a sad day for our family. America and the world knew Harper Lee as one of the last century’s most beloved authors. We knew her as Nelle Harper Lee, a loving member of our family, a devoted friend to the many good people who touched her life, and a generous soul in our community and our state. We will miss her dearly.”
To Kill a Mockingbird, her 1961 narrative about lawyer Atticus Finch’s battle to save the life of a black resident threatened by a racist mob, sold more than 40 million copies around the globe and earned her a Pulitzer Prize. George W Bush also awarded her the presidential medal of freedom in 2007.
The one-book literary wonder initially had no intention of releasing further works, but finally, a second novel, Go Set a Watchman, was published in July 2015. The novel reappraises the character of Finch, and he was depicted as having been a supporter of the South’s Jim Crow laws.
Thank you for your powerful literary excellence, Harper Lee. #RIP