Go Set a Watchman, a recently discovered novel by Harper Lee, is to be published this July.
To Kill a Mocking Bird was Lee’s only novel – it’s been translated into more than 40 languages and sold in excess of 40m copies worldwide. Go Set a Watchman was written before To Kill a Mockingbird and features Scout, the book’s narrator, as an adult.
It’s set in the mid-1950s, 20 years after To Kill a Mockingbird when Scout (Jean Louise Finch) has returned to Maycomb from New York to visit her father Atticus and is forced to grapple with personal and political issues both as she tries to understand her father’s attitude to society, and her own feelings about her childhood home.
Lee said she was not aware that Go Set a Watchman had survived, and was “surprised and delighted” when it was rediscovered. “In the mid-1950s, I completed a novel called Go Set a Watchman. It features the character known as Scout as an adult woman and I thought it a pretty decent effort. My editor, who was taken by the flashbacks to Scout’s childhood, persuaded me to write a novel from the point of view of the young Scout. I was a first-time writer, so I did as I was told. I hadn’t realized it had survived, so was surprised and delighted when my dear friend and lawyer Tonja Carter discovered it. After much thought and hesitation I shared it with a handful of people I trust and was pleased to hear that they considered it worthy of publication. I am humbled and amazed that this will now be published after all these years.”