Harper Lee, the famous author of 'To Kill A Mockingbird', took a lot of inspiration for her award winning book from her personal life.
We have all the information on the talented writer, and what her life was like before and after writing one of the most famous books in history. If you haven't read any books by Harper Lee before, these facts are definitely going to make you want to read 'To Kill A Mockingbird'.
Interesting Facts About Harper Lee
This list of biographical information about Harper Lee will give you all the interesting facts about the 'To Kill A Mockingbird' author and her childhood that you need.
1. Harper Lee's real name is Nelle Harper Lee.
2. Her parents called her Nelle because her grandmother was called Ellen, which is Nelle backwards.
3. Nelle Harper Lee was mostly known by her friends and family as Nelle, and only really used Harper as a pen name.
4. Her middle name, Harper was after the doctor William W. Harper who saved her sisters life.
5. Harper Lee was born on 28 April 1926 in Monroeville, Alabama.
6. Harper Lee's family consisted of her mother who was a homemaker, her father, a businessman, lawyer and past newspaper editor, and her three siblings.
7. Lee had a sister, Alice Finch Lee, another sister, Louise Lee Conner, and a brother Edwin Lee.
8. Her sisters were much older than Lee, so she only really played with her brother as a child.
9. Harper Lee is the daughter of a lawyer, Amasa Coleman Lee.
10. The school that Lee went to was Monroe County High School.
11. While she was at high school, Lee became very interested in English literature, and her teacher Gladys Watson became her mentor.
12. In 1944 when she finished high school, Lee went to Huntington College in Montgomery before she went to university.
13. She was childhood friends with Truman Capote, the famous American novelist.
14. She based the character of Dill in 'To Kill A Mockingbird' on him.
15. At university, Lee wrote for the university newspaper and also a humor magazine.
16. She studied at the University of Alabama.
17. Harper Lee's education also featured her studying for one summer at Oxford University in England, which her father paid for because he wanted her to complete her studies there and become a lawyer.
18. She studied law at the University of Alabama, but left before she got a degree and moved to New York City.
19. In New York she worked as an airline reservationist.
20. Shortly into her career as an airline reservationist, one of her friends offered her enough money to write full time for a year so she could quit. This was to be the beginning of her amazing writing career.
21. She died on 19 February 2016 in Monroeville, at the age of 89.
Facts About Harper Lee's Career
If you want to know all about the Harper Lee novels and her career, this list will help.
22. To write 'To Kill A Mockingbird', Lee would spend between six and 12 hours every day at her desk writing.
23. She wrote the book while she was living in New York City.
24. Gregory Peck played the character of Atticus Finch in the movie of 'To Kill A Mockingbird'
25. In the late '70s, Lee decided to write a true crime book and started to research the preacher W.M. Maxwell who was a suspected murderer. She stopped this project when she thought it might put her at personal risk.
26. Once Harper Lee said she wished she had never written her famous book 'To Kill A Mockingbird'
27. In 1959, while she was waiting for her book to be approved she went to Kansas with Truman Capote to help him write about some murders that had happened.
28. For months, Harper Lee helped him to research the crime, and later he used that research to write his famous novel 'In Cold Blood'.
29. In 'In Cold Blood', Truman Capote didn't mention how much help Harper Lee had been in writing the novel, so they fell out.
Interesting Facts About 'To Kill A Mockingbird'
Learn about some of the memorable characters created by Harper Lee in her famous novel, and why she won the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 with these interesting facts all about Harper Lee.
30. Lee first wrote a book called 'Go Set a Watchman', which turned into 'To Kill A Mockingbird' after her editor helped her to change the book a lot.
31. Her editor was called Tay Hohoff, and she saw that Lee was an incredible writer from the beginning, but her book was a very rough draft.
32. Before her book came out, Lee was worried that it was not going to be successful.
33. At the same time as her book was published, schools in the United States had just been desegregated, so black and white children could go to school together.
34. There was a lot of fighting between people who disagreed with the decision.
35. The original 'Go Set a Watchman' book was eventually released as a sequel to 'To Kill A Mockingbird', it was all about the main character, Scout, as a grown woman visiting her father. 'Go Set A Watchman' wasn't released until a long time after 'To Kill A Mockingbird', in 2015.
36. 'To Kill A Mockingbird' was a bestseller for an incredible 88 weeks.
37. The book was almost called Atticus, after the name of the father of the main character.
38. The novel is told mostly from the perspective of a young girl who is nicknamed Scout.
39. Scout is the daughter of a lawyer called Atticus Finch.
40. During the book, Scout and her brother Jem learn about racial justice through watching their dad defend a black man in court.
41. The man who has been falsely accused of a crime is called Tom Robinson.
42. Because of the time the book is set, Tom Robinson is treated badly by the community.
43. The book has been translated into over 40 different languages.
44. The town of Maycomb, where the book is set, is a fictional town that is based on Nelle Harper Lee's hometown of Monroeville, Alabama.
45. The novel was named as America's favorite book in 2018 by PBS Great American Read.
46. Harper Lee's awards for 'To Kill A Mockingbird' include the Pulitzer Prize, which she won in 1961.
47. The book has sold more than 30 million copies across the world.
48. In 1962 the book was made into a film, and in 1997 it was remade into another film.
49. The film was nominated for eight different Academy Awards.
50. It won three Academy Awards, for Best Actor, Best Writing and Best Art Direction.
51. In the year 2018 the book was made into a Broadway play. It was adapted by Aaron Sorkin.
52. The film made of the novel was written by the playwright Horton Foote.
53. Robert Duvall played the character of Boo Radley in the film.
54. Atticus Finch actor Gregory Peck became friends with the novelist after the film, and she gave him a pocket watch with their names inscribed on it.
55. Gregory Peck's grandson is named Harper after the writer.
56. Harper Lee would not write an introduction for the novel, this is because she said she wanted the work to speak for itself.
Fun Facts About Harper Lee
Now that you know the biography of Harper Lee, these fun facts about the author of 'To Kill A Mockingbird' will let you in on some quirks about her personality and what she was really like.
58. Harper Lee spent most of her time between New York City and Monroeville, Alabama.
59. She enjoyed going to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and supporting the Mets when she was in New York City.
60. In Monroeville, she liked to fish, drink coffee at McDonalds and feed the ducks.
61. Some adjectives to describe Harper Lee are: inspiring, courageous, upbeat and motivational.
62. Over 30,000 tourists visit her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama every year.
63. Harper Lee chose to drop her first name Nelle when she chose her author name because she didn't want people to mispronounce it and call her Nellie.
64. In 2009, 'To Kill A Mockingbird' won a vote for the most inspirational book of all time, beating the Bible.
65. Harper Lee's favourite authors are Jane Austen, Eudora Welty and William Faulkner.
66. Even though Harper Lee became very wealthy from the success of 'To Kill A Mockingbird', she lived a very frugal life.
67. She did not have air conditioning, a cell phone, a computer or a washing machine.
68. She liked to do all her writing using a manual typewriter.
69. Harper Lee was known to make secret donations to her local Church and charities often.
70. After her popularity rose, Lee asked her sister Alice to become her lawyer and changed her phone number so she was not asked to be interviewed as often.
71. After writing 'To Kill A Mockingbird', Lee gave very few interviews of public appearances.
72. She did not write or release any other novels after 'To Kill A Mockingbird', except from a few essays until the release of 'Got Set A Watchman' in 2015.
73. 'The Long Goodbye' is the name of another novel written by Lee, she did not ever finish this book.
74. Harper Lee wanted the actor Spencer Tracy to play Atticus Finch in the movie of her book, but he was busy with other commitments.
75. After her book became a success, Nelle Harper Lee tried to stay out of the spotlight because she didn't like fame.
76. Harper Lee loved laughing and regularly used to watch films like 'Wallace And Gromit'.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for Harper Lee facts then why not take a look at these amazing Robert Burns facts, or these amazing facts about Apollo the Sun God.
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