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Monday, April 28, 2008

A gift from friends

Harper Lee's novel "To Kill a Mockingbird" was partly a magnificent gift from friends who in 1956 gave her a year's salary as a Christmas present so that she could devote all her time to writing. After writing, rewriting and nearly losing the pages to the New York winter, Lee's novel was finally published in 1960. It won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1961.

Writers send their darlings out into the world with every hope and prayer that they won't be squashed on arrival. It is a most anxious time when the work leaves the writers hands and when it appears in its final form. Lee, who turns 82 today, had nothing to worry about. It was well received and included this from a Washington Post reviewer: "A hundred pounds of sermons on tolerance, or an equal measure of invective deploring the lack of it, will weigh far less in the scale of enlightenment than a mere 18 ounces of new fiction bearing the title To Kill a Mockingbird."

Her book is now required reading in high schools around the country.
"I never expected any sort of success with Mockingbird. I was hoping for a quick and merciful death at the hands of the reviewers but, at the same time, I sort of hoped someone would like it enough to give me encouragement. Public encouragement. I hoped for a little, as I said, but I got rather a whole lot, and in some ways this was just about as frightening as the quick, merciful death I'd expected."
Word of the day
denizen: one that frequents a place


Meg said...

I'm thankful it's on the reading list because last year I had the pleasure of rereading it with my son. We also watched the movie together and my goodness, Gregory Peck is quite sexy, isn't he?

Love the new look of your site and those LAX photos!

Wendy Hoke said...

Hey Meg!

Thanks for noticing the new look. :) I was inspired by you and Tracy working on this last week.

I also reread with my son over Christmas break (since he has English this semester) and we, too, watched the movie together. I don't know if Atticus is sexy, but his character in Roman Holiday certainly is. :)