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There's going to be a sequel to To Kill A Mockingbird

It will be called Go Set A Watchman.

Actor Gregory Peck is shown in a scene from the 1962 movie,
Actor Gregory Peck is shown in a scene from the 1962 movie, "To Kill A Mockingbird".
Image: AP/Press Association Images

PUBLISHER HARPER HAS announced that “Go Set a Watchman,” a novel the Pulitzer Prize-winning author completed in the 1950s and put aside, will be released on 14 July.

Rediscovered last fall, “Go Set a Watchman” is essentially a sequel to “To Kill a Mockingbird,” although it was finished earlier. The 304-page book will be Lee’s second, and the first new work in more than 50 years.

The publisher plans a first printing of 2 million copies.

“In the mid-1950s, I completed a novel called ‘Go Set a Watchman,’” the 88-year-old Lee said in a statement issued by Harper.

“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 (what became ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’) 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 (the original book) 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.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

The deal was negotiated between Carter and the head of Harper’s parent company, Michael Morrison of HarperCollins Publishers. “Watchman” will be published in the United Kingdom by William Heinemann, an imprint of Penguin Random House.

According to publisher Harper, Carter came upon the manuscript at a “secure location where it had been affixed to an original typescript of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird.’”

The new book is set in Lee’s famed Maycomb, Alabama, during the mid-1950s, 20 years after “To Kill a Mockingbird” and roughly contemporaneous with the time that Lee was writing the story. The civil rights movement was taking hold by the time she was working on “Watchman.”

Mockingbird Controversy Harper Lee smiles during a ceremony honoring the four new members of the Alabama Academy of Honor at the Capitol in Montgomery. Source: AP/Press Association Images

The Supreme Court had ruled unanimously in 1953 that segregated schools were unconstitutional, and the arrest of Rosa Parks in 1955 led to the yearlong Montgomery bus boycott.

“Scout (Jean Louise Finch) has returned to Maycomb from New York to visit her father, Atticus,” the publisher’s announcement reads. “She is forced to grapple with issues both personal and political as she tries to understand her father’s attitude toward society, and her own feelings about the place where she was born and spent her childhood.”

Lee herself is a Monroeville, Alabama native who lived in New York in the 1950s. She now lives in her hometown. According to the publisher, the book will be released as she first wrote it, with no revisions.

Lee’s publisher said the author is unlike to do any publicity for the book. She has rarely spoken to the media since the 1960s, when she told one reporter that she wanted to “to leave some record of small-town, middle-class Southern life.” Until now, “To Kill a Mockingbird” had been the sole fulfillment of that goal.

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Associated Press

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