55 years after “To Kill a Mockingbird” was published, a sequel to the legendary novel has been announced with a release date of July 2015.
Harper Lee’s 1960 novel To Kill a Mockingbird delved into racism of the mid-20th century. It won a Pulizer Prize and has never gone out of print. Despite the book’s immense popularity, Lee never published another novel. Until now.
After decades out of the public spotlight, on Feburary 3, 2015, Lee announced that her novel Go Set a Watchman would be released in July 2015. Although written as a sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird, the newly-announced book was actually written several years before Mockingbird. a “Friend and lawyer” Tonja Carter found the manuscript for Watchman attached to an original copy of To Kill a Mockingbird.
Harper Lee released a statement, which read:
In the mid-1950s, I completed a novel called ‘Go Set a Watchman. It features the character known as Scout as an adult woman, and I thought it a pretty decent effort. My editor, who was taken by the flashbacks to Scout’s childhood, persuaded me to write a novel (what became ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’) from the point of view of the young Scout.
I was a first-time writer, so I did as I was told. I hadn’t realized it (the original book) had survived, so was surprised and delighted when my dear friend and lawyer Tonja Carter discovered it. After much thought and hesitation, I shared it with a handful of people I trust and was pleased to hear that they considered it worthy of publication. I am humbled and amazed that this will now be published after all these years.
Watchman is set in Alabama 20 years after To Kill a Mockingbird. The publisher has said the first printing will be 2 million copies of the 340 page book. The publisher has stated that there will be no revisions made to the manuscript.
The publisher’s announcement describes the book:
“Scout (Jean Louise Finch) has returned to Maycomb from New York to visit her father, Atticus. She is forced to grapple with issues both personal and political as she tries to understand her father’s attitude toward society, and her own feelings about the place where she was born and spent her childhood.”
Mockingbird was made into an Oscar-winning film starring Gregory Peck in 1962. Lee praised the film.