Sophie Wilkinson | Contributing Editor | Tuesday, 3 February 2015

To Kill A Mockingbird’s Sequel Will Finally Be Published After 55 Years

The Debrief: The follow up to Harper Lee’s Pulitzer-winning book was held back on the advice of an editor in the mid-50s…

Worried that you haven’t achieved much with your life? Well, there’s some comforting news in the fact that Harper Lee, aged 88, is finally seeing the sequel to her famous work To Kill A Mockingbird published.

Go Set A Watchman shows Scout, Jem and Atticus 20 years on from the first book. According to a statement: ‘[Scout] 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’.

The novel was written in the mid-50s, shortly after To Kill A Mockingbird was written, but while the earlier book was published, Go Set A Watchman was put to the side by an editor who, for whatever reason, just didn’t want it to be published at all. Harper thought it had been 'lost or destroyed' ever since.

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'I was a first-time writer, so I did as I was told' she said in a statement reported by The New York Times: 'I hadn’t realised it 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.'

‘I thought it a pretty decent effort,' Harper said.

On the one hand, this will make you feel better about the fact there’s no time limit to achievements. However, it might make you feel a little bit crap because Harper Lee got a book deal when she was 29 and wrote the Pulitzer prize-winning To Kill A Mockingbird in 1960, when she was just when she was just 33 years old.

If you’re part of that latter camp, maybe it’s time to grow up full stop, because, well, there are much bigger struggles in the world, and anyone who’s read To Kill A Mockingbird will know that.

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Excited for the new book? Harper, seemingly not phased by the fact that David and Victoria Beckham named their one daughter after her, has gone that extra bit humble and said she’s only going to get 2 million copies of the book printed (To Kill A Mockingbird has 30 million copies in print!).

As there might be a rush for copies…now’s the time to clear our diaries for July 14th, when Go Set A Watchman is released. Sadly we think it might be as relevant today as To Kill A Mockingbird is…

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Tags: books