14 Jul 2015

Harper Lee's lawyer tells story of discovery of Mockingbird prequel

The manuscript of 'Go Set a Watchman' by Harper Lee - a sequel to 'How to kill a mockingbird' - lay in a bank safe deposit in Alabama for three years until Ms Lee's lawyer went through the box and realised its significance.

Alabama: Home to Harper Lee, author of 'To Kill a Mockingbird Rob Hainer

'How to kill a mockingbird' - famous for its depiction of lawyer Atticus Finch as he defends an innocent black man on death penalty charge of rape - was thought to have been a one-off from the 89-year old author. But the manuscript of the sequel was kept a secret from the world for many years and only became the subject of possible interest after the death of Ms Lee's lawyer sister. At that stage, Tonja Carter took over as legal adviser to the author who still lives in Monroeville, Alabama - the town of her childhood.

Family party

In 2011, Ms Carter went through the safe deposit box with a literary agent and an independent appraiser. Ms Carter had to leave the meeting early and neither of the men mentioned the discovery of a manuscript to her in the box afterwards. Going back in 2014 she found several hundreds of pages of typed manuscript. These are the pages that are being published today as 'Go set a watchman'. She had been alerted to the possibility that a second book had been written when she attended a Lee family party and spoke to family and friends who were discussing it. Source: Wall Street Journal