Harper Lee Has Passed Away at Age 89

Harper Lee, the author of the classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird, has passed away at age 89. Lee died in the same town she was born in, Monroeville, Alabama.

Lee only published two novels in her life, the Pulitzer Prize winning To Kill a Mockingbird in 1960 and last year’s Go Set a Watchman — a book that is largely considered to be an early draft of Mockingbird. Still, she was easily one of America’s most beloved authors and To Kill a Mockingbird has been a widely-taught classic for decades. Lee was also known for her close friendship with another iconic Southern author, Truman Capote. She helped research his non-fiction novel In Cold Blood.

Lee famously shunned the popularity she received for her debut novel, preferring a quiet life in a small town. In 1964, she said this of her unexpected success:

I never expected any sort of success with Mockingbird. I was hoping for a quick and merciful death at the hands of the reviewers but, at the same time, I sort of hoped someone would like it enough to give me encouragement. Public encouragement. I hoped for a little, as I said, but I got rather a whole lot, and in some ways this was just about as frightening as the quick, merciful death I’d expected.

Lee was awarded high honors by both president George W. Bush and president Barack Obama. She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her contributions to American literature in 2007 and the National Medal of Arts in 2010.

You can read the New York Times obituary here.

Thank you for your words, Ms. Lee. You will be missed.

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