Harper Lee, the author of the beloved novel To Kill a Mockingbird, will publish a second book this summer. Go Set a Watchman was completed in the 1950s, but set aside by the writer, who went on to win the Pulitzer Prize for the only novel she ever published.
Lee's publisher, Harper, issued a statement this morning, in which the author said:
I was a first-time writer, so I did as I was told. I hadn’t realized it (the original book) 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.
The news comes as a surprise for fans of the writer, as she's established a reputation as somewhat of a recluse. When a reporter released a biography of Lee and her sister Alice last year entitled The Mockingbird Next Door: Life With Harper Lee, the author responded by denying her involvement, stating:
I was hurt, angry and saddened, but not surprised. I immediately cut off all contact with Miss Mills, leaving town whenever she headed this way. [...] Rest assured, as long as I am alive any book purporting to be with my cooperation is a falsehood.
Go Set a Watchman, which will feature Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird as an adult woman, will publish on July 14.