Best Known For
Harper Lee is best known for writing the Pulitzer Prize-winning best-seller To Kill a Mockingbird (1960)—her one and only published novel.
Harper Lee - Mini Biography (3:04)
William Faulkner - Mini Bio (3:53)
Truman Capote - Mini Bio (3:32)
In 1961, Harper Lee became the only author to win the Pulitzer Prize for her first and only novel, "To Kill a Mockingbird."
Gregory Peck starred as Atticus Finch in the film adaptation of Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird." Peck's character was voted the greatest movie hero of all time.
A two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, William Faulkner was the poet-novelist of Mississippi. His novels "The Sound and the Fury," "As I Lay Dying," and "Light in August" all reflect the history and culture of the American South.
Known as the originator of the true-crime novel, Truman Capote was both a renowned author as well as a controversial celebrity. His non-fiction novel, "In Cold Blood," became an international best-seller.
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Writer Harper Lee was born on April 28, 1926, in Monroeville, Alabama. In 1959, she finished the manuscript for her Pulitzer Prize-winning best-seller To Kill a Mockingbird. Soon after, she helped fellow-writer and friend Truman Capote write an article for The New Yorker which would later evolve into his nonfiction masterpiece, In Cold Blood. Lee's second novel was never published.
"You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view—until you climb into his skin and walk around in it."
"Simply because we are licked a hundred years before we started is no reason for us not to try and win."
"I think there's just one kind of folks. Folks."
"People in their right minds never take pride in their talents."
"Any writer worth his salt writes to please himself ... it's a self-exploratory operation that is endless."
"Things are always better in the morning."
"The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience."
"Everybody's gotta learn, nobody's born knowing."
"I would advise to anyone who aspires to a writing career, that before developing his talent, he would be wise to develop a thick hide."
Famed author Nelle Harper Lee was born on April 28, 1926, in Monroeville, Alabama. Lee is best known for writing the Pulitzer Prize-winning best-seller To Kill a Mockingbird (1960)—her one and only novel. The youngest of four children, she grew up as a tomboy in a small town. Her father was a lawyer, a member of the Alabama state legislature and also owned part of the local newspaper. For most of Lee's life, her mother suffered from mental illness, rarely leaving the house. It is believed that she may have had bipolar disorder.
One of her closest childhood friends was another writer-to-be, Truman Capote (then known as Truman Persons). Tougher than many of the boys, Lee often stepped up to serve as Truman's protector. Truman, who shared few interests with boys his age, was picked on for being a sissy and for the fancy clothes he wore. While the two friends were very different, they both shared in having difficult home lives. Truman was living with his mother's relatives in town after largely being abandoned by his own parents.
In high school, Lee developed an interest in English literature. After graduating in 1944, she went to the all-female Huntingdon College in Montgomery. Lee stood apart from the other students—she couldn't have cared less about fashion, makeup or dating. Instead, she focused on her studies and on her writing. Lee was a member of the literary honor society and the glee club.
Transferring to the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa, Lee was known for being a loner and an individualist. She did make a greater attempt at a social life there, joining a sorority for a while. Pursuing her interest in writing, Lee contributed to the school's newspaper and its humor magazine, the Rammer Jammer. She eventually became the editor of the Rammer Jammer.
In her junior year, Lee was accepted into the university's law school, which allowed students to work on law degrees while still undergraduates. The demands of her law studies forced her to leave her post as editor of the Rammer Jammer. After her first year in the law program, Lee began expressing to her family that writing—not the law—was her true calling. She went to Oxford University in England that summer as an exchange student. Returning to her law studies that fall, Lee dropped out after the first semester. She soon moved to New York City to follow her dreams to become a writer.
In 1949, a 23-year-old Lee arrived in New York City. She struggled for several years, working as a ticket agent for Eastern Airlines and for the British Overseas Air Corp (BOAC). While in the city, Lee was reunited with old friend Truman Capote, one of the literary rising stars of the time.
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