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In Search of the Novel:Ten Novelists

Harper Lee

Biography

Nelle Lee Harper was born on April 28, 1926—the youngest of four children. She attended Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1944–45, studied law at the University of Alabama in 1945–49, and studied for one year at Oxford University. In 1957, Lee submitted a manuscript for To Kill a Mockingbird to J. B. Lippincott & Company and was told that it read like a series of short stories strung together. For two-and-a-half years she worked on it, and it was published in 1960. It is her only published book. In 1961, she had two articles published in Vogue and McCall's. In 1966, Harper Lee was named by President Johnson to serve on the National Council of the Arts. She has received a number of honorary doctorates, including one given to her in 1990 by the University of Alabama and another from Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama in 1997 for her “lyrical elegance, her portrayal of human strength, and wisdom.” She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2007 for her contribution to literature. She does not speak or grant interviews on these occasions. It is said that she still plays golf and is working on her memoirs.

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