Alabama Not Just Football: 30 Amazing People Who Were Built By Bama

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Harper Lee

A native of Monroeville, AL, Harper Lee studied law at the University of Alabama in the late 1940s but did not complete a degree.

Her 1960 novel To Kill a Mockingbird is one of the most read works of 20th century American literature. It has been a bestseller since shortly after its publication and reached the top 20 in eBook sales on Amazon as recently as this year.

In 1961, To Kill a Mockingbird won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. In 1962, Gregory Peck starred as Atticus Finch in a film adaptation. Harper Lee was closely involved with the production of the movie, which was popular with both audiences and critics. Gregory Peck won the 1962 Academy Award for best actor and the film won two more Oscars that year.

In 1964, Harper Lee accompanied lifelong friend Truman Capote to Kansas to research Capote’s novel In Cold Blood. Lee continued writing on her own and published some essays, but maintained that she would never publish another novel.

Harper Lee was inducted into the Alabama Academy of Honor in 2001. In 2006, she received an honorary doctorate from the University Of Notre Dame. President George W. Bush presented Harper Lee with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2007 and in 2010 President Barack Obama awarded her the National Medal of Arts.

A second Harper Lee novel, previously submitted as an early draft of To Kill a Mockingbird, was published earlier in 2015. Go Set a Watchman has caused controversy both in the ethics of publishing the novel and in the perceived changes to the beloved character Atticus Finch.

Harper Lee died February 19, 2016.

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