Harper Lee: Biography

Harper Lee

28 apr 1926

Harper Lee is a renowned writer who received the honorary Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George W. Bush in Nov 2007.

Born on Apr 28, 1926 in Alabama town of Monroeville, Harper Lee is also known as Nelle. Harper Lee was the youngest of four children to her parents Amasa Coleman Lee and Frances Cunningham Finch Lee. Harpee Lee’s father was a lawyer, a former newspaper editor and proprietor. Nelle followed her father’s footsteps.

Though Harpee Lee joined the University of Alabama to study Law, she did not complete it. But the interest she had in writing made her the editor of the campus humour magazine, ‘Ramma-Jamma’. Nelle also studied in Oxford, England before re-locating to New York in 1950.

In New York, Harpee worked as a reservation clerk until she took to writing in 1950s. Harpee wrote many long stories. Surprise came in the form of a friend to Harpee on Christmas day. When Harpee was in her friend’s house, she received a gift of one year’s wage and a note that said, ‘You have one year off from your job to write whatever you please, Merry Christmas’.

Harpee who was happy and equally shocked took the oppurtunity and wrote her first novel, ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’. Published in 1960, the novel reached heights that it received the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1961. In 1999, the novel was selected as, ‘Best Novel of the Century’. This best-seller did more than 30 million copies in print and translated into more than 40 languages. Not only that, the movie adaptation of the novel with the same name won three academy awards.

‘Go Set a Watchman’ was Harpee Lee’s second novel. A voracious reader and a person with great passion in writing, Harpee Lee passed away on Feb 19, 2016 at the age of 89.