AKA Nelle Harper Lee
Born: 28th April, 1926
Birthplace: Monroeville, AL
Nationality: United States
Executive summary: To Kill A Mockingbird
Father: Amasa Coleman Lee (lawyer, b. 19th July, 1880, d. 1962)
Mother: Frances Cunningham (Finch) Lee (d. 1951)
Sister: Alice Lee (attorney, b. 11th September, 1911)
Sister: Louise Lee (lives with Harper Lee)
Brother: Edwin Coleman Lee (US Air Force officer, b. 1920, d. 1951)
High School: Monroe County High School, Monroe County, AL
University: Huntingdon College, Montgomery, AL (1944-5)
Law School: University of Alabama (1945-9)
University: Oxford University (one year)
Chi Omega Sorority
Pulitzer Prize for Fiction 1961 for To Kill A Mockingbird
Harper Lee was born in Monroeville, Alabama in 1926. Her father was a lawyer and the basis for Atticus Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird. He served in the Alabama legislature from 1927 to 1939. He reportedly was a segregationist until the late 1950s, when the increasing amount of civil rights protests caught his attention and he felt sympathetic.
Lee attended three colleges, studied law, and was briefly an exchange student at Oxford, but she received no degrees.
By the 1950s she was working as an airline reservations clerk, writing in her free time. One Christmas, she received a wonderful present from friend: a year's wages, without having to work.
Harper argued that they could not afford the gift, but they insisted that with her talent and a year without distraction, something wonderful would result.
And they were right. What resulted was To Kill A Mockingbird, published in 1960. The novel has spent eighty weeks on the best-seller list, sold 30,000,000 copies, and has been translated into more than forty languages. It won the Pulitzer Prize in 1961, and was adapted into a film in 1962.
In her last interview, in 1964, Lee said she had "never expected any sort of success with Mockingbird", and that she was having a difficult time writing her next novel. She wrote a few magazine essays after Mockingbird was published, but another novel has never yet been published. Harper Lee is not in her eighties, and she lives with her sister Louise, avoids all publicity, declines all interview requests, and rarely makes public appearances.