About This Author

Harper Lee

Lee on November 5, 2007
Lee on November 5, 2007


Nelle Harper LeeApril 28, 1926 Monroeville, Alabama, U.S.


February 19, 2016 Monroeville, Alabama, U.S.

Pen name

Harper Lee






University of Alabama




Literature, fiction

Literary movement

Southern Gothic

Notable works

To Kill a Mockingbird Go Set a Watchman


Nelle Harper Lee was an American novelist widely known for To Kill a Mockingbird, published in 1960. Immediately successful, it won the 1961 Pulitzer Prize and has become a classic of modern American literature. Though Lee had only published this single book, in 2007 she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her contribution to literature. Additionally, Lee received numerous honorary degrees, though she declined to speak on those occasions. She was also known for assisting her close friend Truman Capote in his research for the book In Cold Blood . Capote was the basis for the character Dill in To Kill a Mockingbird.

The plot and characters of To Kill a Mockingbird are loosely based on Lee's observations of her family and neighbors, as well as an event that occurred near her hometown in 1936, when she was 10 years old. The novel deals with the irrationality of adult attitudes towards race and class in the Deep South of the 1930s, as depicted through the eyes of two children. The novel was inspired by racist attitudes in her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama.

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