The tricky second work. The proof that you're not a one-hit wonder, that your legions of fans weren't wrong to put their faith in you. It's been some time coming, but the second novel of Harper Lee is set to be released this summer - some 55 years after her Pulitzer Prize-winning debut, To Kill a Mockingbird.
American publishing house Harper has announced that it will be releasing Lee's second novel, Go Set a Watchman, on 14 July. Completed in the 1950s and apparently rediscovered last autumn, the novel is in part a sequel to Mockingbird.
"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."
Go Set a Watchmen is set Lee's famed Maycomb, Alabama, during the mid-1950s, 20 years after To Kill a Mockingbird. Harper's announcement details that book will follow Scout (Jean Louise Finch), returning home from New York to visit her father, Atticus, where she is forced to grapple with issues both personal and political as she tries to understand her father's attitude toward society.
William Heinemann, an imprint of Penguin Random House, will be responsible for publishing the book in the UK.
(Images: Wikicommons; Rex)