Fun Facts Friday: Harper Lee

April 28, 2023

Harper Lee (April 28, 1926 – 19 February, 2016) was a Pulitzer Prize winning novelist. She is known for her 1961 classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird.

Fun Facts Friday: Harper LeeBooks by Harper Lee*

Fun Facts about Harper Lee:

  1. Nellle Harper Lee was born in Monroeville, AL. She was the youngest of four children. The Lees were a prominent family, decedents from Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Amasa Coleman Lee was a newspaper editor, a lawyer, and a legislator, her mother Frances, was a homemaker.
  2. The author was named after her grandmother (Ellen), and Dr. William W. Harper who saved the life of her sister Louise.
  3. Gladys Watson, Ms. Lee’s high-school English literature teacher and mentor helped her develop her interest in writing. However, she studied law at the University of Alabama, where she also wrote for a humor magazine. She left before finishing her last semester to get a degree.
  4. Truman Capote was a childhood friend of Ms. Lee. There are even rumors that he was the true creator of To Kill a Mockingbird, which are unsubstantiated at best. Capote, however, did very little to dispel those rumors while he was alive. This might have been because she was Capote’s research assistant for In Cold Blood.
  5. She took time off from her work as an airline ticketing agent in Manhattan to help Capote and write her first novel To Kill a Mockingbird. Before the book was released, racial tensions in the American South have escalated. The book won several awards including the 1961 Pulitzer Prize.
    Not bad for a debut novel.
  6. Ms. Harper was very involved in the 1962 movie adaptation of her novel. The movie won several Academy Awards including best actor for Gregory Peck, who became a close friend, his grandson, Harper Peck Voll is named after her.
  7. Harper Lee was appointed to the National Council of the Arts by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1966. In 2007, she was awarded the of Presidential Medal Freedom by President George W. Bush. President Barack Obama warded her the National Medal of Arts in 2010.
  8. Ms. Lee enjoyed Jane Austen and the Harry Potter series, she was also a friend of Oprah Winfrey even though she refused to do interviews with her.
  9. A 2012 lawsuit revealed that Harper Lee earned around $3 million per year in royalties from To Kill a Mockingbird. She loved to visit casinos, but only played the quarter slots, the rest of her wealth was used for charitable causes.
  10. Harper Lee was portrayed in movies by Catherine Keener, and Sandra Bullock in movies about the her flamboyant childhood friend Truman Capote.

Books by Harper Lee*

Zohar – Man of la Book
*Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account, the money is usually spent on books

Sources:

6 Fascinating Facts About Harper Lee | biography.com

12 Things You Didn’t Know About Harper Lee – B&N Reads | barnesandnoble.com

Harper Lee | Wikipedia

Top 10 Facts about Harper Lee, the Novelist | Book Analysis

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Fun Facts Friday: Harper Lee
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Fun Facts Friday: Harper Lee
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Harper Lee (April 28, 1926 – 19 February, 2016) was a Pulitzer Prize winning novelist. She is known for her 1961 classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird.
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Man of la Book - A Bookish Blog
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