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Summary Article: Lee, (Nelle) Harper (1926–2016)
from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

US writer. Her novel To Kill a Mockingbird (1960), a story of racial prejudice in America's Deep South, won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1961 and became an enduring classic. The film version, made in 1962, won three Academy Awards. Lee worked as a consultant on the screenplay adaptation of the novel. Over 50 years later, in 2015, a ‘second’ Lee novel, Go Set a Watchman was published, although this is largely regarded as a first draft of To Kill a Mockingbird rather than a sequel.

Set during the Great Depression, the story of To Kill a Mockingbird is told through the eyes of a young girl, Scout Finch. A black man, Tom Robinson, is accused of raping a white woman and Scout's father, Atticus, is the small-town Alabama lawyer who defends him. Lee may have based the trial in her book on a similar case in her home town in 1933, as well as the case of 1931, in which nine young black men were accused of raping two white women. Scout and her brother Jem learn, through the example of their father, the importance of fighting prejudice and upholding human dignity.

Lee was born in Monroeville, Alabama. She attended Huntington College (1944–45), studied law at the University of Alabama (1947–49), and attended Oxford University, England, for one year. A childhood friend of the writer Truman Capote, Lee was the inspiration for the character Idabel in Capote's Other Voices, Other Rooms (1948). He in turn clearly influenced her character Dill in To Kill a Mockingbird. In 1959 Lee Capote travelled to Garden City, Kansas, to research the Clutter family murders for his work, In Cold Blood (1965).

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Lee, (Nelle) Harper

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