Nelle Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird was published in 1960 and became an instant bestseller. Two years later it was an Academy Award– winning film. Today, it remains standard—and beloved—reading in English classes. But Lee never wanted “the book” to define who she was, which explains her aversion to any kind of publicity. Kerry Madden conducted extensive research for this Up Close biography, which reveals Lee to be a down-to-earth Southern woman who prefers to live simply, like her neighbors do, despite the fact that she is a treasured literary legend. Madden’s in-depth biography is now more relevant than ever: 2015’s historic release of Go Set a Watchman—written by Lee before To Kill a Mockingbird and lost for decades—has thrust Lee and her work back into the spotlight.
Kerry Madden (www.kerrymadden.com) is the author of the Appalachian Maggie Valley Trilogy: Gentle’s Holler, Louisiana’s Song, and Jessie’s Mountain (all Viking). Her other books include Offsides, a 1997 New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age selection, Writing Smarts, which helps kids craft their own… More about Kerry Madden-Lunsford