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Harper Lee to publish long-lost novel

Rachel Stalker, ‘Doah Staff Writer
February 18, 2015

On Feb. 3, more than 50 years after the release of her first novel, “To Kill a Mockingbird,” Harper Lee’s publisher announced the release of her next novel, “Go Set a Watchmen,” for July 2015.

“Go Set a Watchmen” was actually written before “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “but Ms. Lee abandoned the manuscript after her editor, who was captivated by the flashbacks to Scout’s childhood, told her to write a new book from the young heroine’s perspective and to set it during her childhood,” according to an article in the New York Times.

Based on the same characters as “To Kill a Mockingbird,” this new novel takes place in the 1950’s and places Scout and Atticus Finch at much later stages in their lives.

It was unknown at first whether or not Ms. Lee was capable of permitting the release of this newly discovered novel, as she is 88-years-old and certainly frail. However, according to the New York Times, her family says that she is perfectly capable of making this kind of decision.

In a statement given by Ms. Lee, through her lawyer, she asserted, “I’m alive and kicking and happy as hell with the reactions to ‘Watchman.’ ”

The success of her first, and so far only, published novel, “To Kill a Mockingbird,” has piqued the interest of readers young and old worldwide. Winning her a Pulitzer Prize, her novel has sold more than 40 million copies across the globe, and “it continues to sell more than a million copies a year and has been translated into more than 40 languages,” as stated by the New York Times.

Just weeks after the announcement of “Go Set a Watchmen,” it has become the number two best seller on Amazon, and its release is not until July of this year. “To Kill a Mockingbird” is also number 13 on the best-seller list, as of Feb. 14.

Though it may seem that Lee has reappeared after very little interaction in the world since the publication of  “Mockingbird” in 1960, Lee experienced some legal complications in 2013. Her lawyer and manager, Samuel Pinkus, swindled Lee’s copyright for “To Kill a Mockingbird” by having her sign a series of documents that she did not question. As she was already in her late 80’s, her frail state and declining health, after suffering a stroke in 2007, made her an easy target for Pinkus to swipe her copyright right from her.

Lee did, however, file a lawsuit against Pinkus and finally had her copyright signed back over to her in 2013, after he received royalties from her novel for five years, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Many people are excitedly anticipating the release of “Go Set a Watchmen” as Lee’s literary credibility and talent have been continuously celebrated over the last half a century.

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