Harper Lee

Harper Lee was born on April 28, 1926. She was the youngest

of 3 children born to Amasa and Francis Finch Lee. She was born in

Monroeville, Alabama. She attended local schools until 1944, at

which time, she entered Huntington College in Montgomery, Alabama.

She became a Fulbright Scholar and spent a year at Oxford University.

She also attended University of Alabama for four years studying law.

In 1950, she quit the school and moved to New York City where she

worked for Eastern Airlines and British Overseas Air Corporation.

She began writing at a young age, but she was never successful

at getting any of her literary works published, until her successful

novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. She came into contact with a literary

agent, whom she showed some of her manuscripts. One of these

manuscripts was a short story, which her agent encouraged her to

expand on. She then quit her job with the airlines to turn all of her

energy to her writing. This short story expanded into perhaps one of

the most popular novels, and screenplays, in the world. The surprise

is, she submitted the work for publication in 1957, and it was rejected.

She spent the next 2 years in the rewriting and revising the book,

which was eventually published in July, 1960.

Later that year, the book that was originally rejected for

publication, it was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for distinguished fiction

by an American author. This marked the first time in nearly twenty

years that a female author recieved the award. The book also recieved

the Paperback of the Year Award and the National Conference of

Christians and Jews Brotherhood award. The screenplay adaptation of

the book recieved an Oscar.

Lee based the book on some of the experiences of her life. She

based the character Scout on herself. The time of the book would

have been during the time when Lee would have been the same age as

Scout. Maycomb, Alabama, was modeled after her hometown,

Monroeville. The Radly Place was modeled after an old abandoned

house which the children believed to be haunted and used for a

clubhouse. Other characters in the novel are based on people and

stereotypes which she saw during her youth. The book was written in

the dialect of a small southern town, like Monroeville, which was what

she was accustomed to throughout her childhood