Harper Lee Agrees to Digital "To Kill a Mockingbird"


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To Kill a Mockingbird will live on. The Pulitzer Prize winning novel written by Harper Lee was one of the long-standing holdouts of the digital age. Now the author, who hasn't written a major work in more than 50 years, has agreed to allow one of the most esteemed novels in literary history to be released electronically.

The decision was announced by Lee's publisher HarperCollins yesterday, the day of the reclusive author's 88th birthday. Lee said in a rare public statement, "I'm still old-fashioned. I love dusty old books and libraries. This is Mockingbird for a new generation."

The popular novel is read by almost every student in the United States by the time they graduate from middle school. As educational institutions transition from print to digital, Lee's decision will ensure that teenagers decades from now will have the opportunity to experience one of the richest coming-of-age novels in American Literature. The novel is told through the eyes of the young protagonist Scout as she deals with the issues of racial injustice during the Jim Crow era of the south in the 1930s.

Lee published To Kill a Mockingbird in 1960. It was the only novel that she ever wrote. The book has sold more than 30 million copies worldwide and became an Oscar winning film starring Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch in 1962. Additionally, it is often cited as one of the greatest novels ever written. Joel Rickett, deputy editor of The Bookseller Magazine, wrote about the book's influence on its readers, "To Kill a Mockingbird is a book that many people read at school or during their formative years. It is a hugely powerful and political book which has formed many a conscience. As a teenager a book like that can be more profound than reading a book in your 40s and 50s."

The digital versions of To Kill a Mockingbird will be available on July 8.

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