Nelle Harper Lee (April 28, 1926 – February 19, 2016) was an American novelist. She penned the 1960 novel To Kill a Mockingbird that won the 1961 Pulitzer Prize and became a classic of modern American literature. Lee received numerous accolades and honorary degrees, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2007 which was awarded for her contribution to literature. She assisted her close friend Truman Capote in his research for the book In Cold Blood (1966). Capote was the basis for the character Dill Harris in To Kill a Mockingbird.The plot and characters of To Kill a Mockingbird are loosely based on Lee's observations of her family and neighbors, as well as an event that occurred near her hometown in 1936 when she was 10. The novel deals with the irrationality of adult attitudes towards race and class in the Deep South of the 1930s, as depicted through the eyes of two children. It was inspired by racist attitudes in her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama. Go Set a Watchman, written in the mid 1950s, was published in July 2015 as a sequel to Mockingbird but was later confirmed to be an earlier draft of Mockingbird.
- April 28, 1926
- Feb. 19, 2016