Sunday, April 28, 2013
April 28 - Harper Lee
Author Nelle Harper Lee was born on April 28, 1926, in Monroeville, Alabama. Her first name is her grandmother's name spelled backward. Her father was a newspaper editor, state senator and lawyer. Before finishing studies at the University of Alabama, she went to New York in 1949 to pursue a literary career, struggling and working as an airline reservationist. When friends gave her a Christmas gift of a year’s wages, she was able to write her only published novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, which appeared in July 1960 after numerous rewrites. Set in Maycomb, Alabama, in the 1930s, the book follows lawyer Atticus Finch (narrated by his daughter, Scout), who defends a black man accused of raping a poor white girl. Several characters are drawn from life: Finch was the maiden name of Lee's mother, and the young boy Dill was based on her childhood friend, Truman Capote. The book, which has never been out of print, explores multiple themes of racial injustice, inequality, class, courage, gender roles and codes of conduct.