Harper Lee, one of America’s greatest modern authors, has died at the age of 89. The Alabama native’s novel about racial justice in the South, To Kill A Mockingbird, was an instant bestseller during the civil rights era. A movie adaptation released in 1962 also became an instant classic.
The famously reclusive author had a public falling-out with her best friend and fellow author Truman Capote. She assisted him with research for his book, In Cold Blood, and after the two started feuding, he frequently claimed to have co-written Mockingbird. Stung by Capote’s allegations, Lee retreated back to Alabama and shut out the wider world as much as possible.
Lee pointedly refused to publish any further novels but acknowledged that she had written a prequel to her famous novel. Go Set A Watchman was published last year, but fans, eager to know more about some of literature’s greatest characters, panned the novel. The book’s publication was mired in controversy as some of Lee’s friends decried the decision to publish the book she didn’t want published. They allege publishers took advantage of Lee’s diminished mental capacity in an attempt to cash in.