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Mockingbird sequel already best seller and it's not even out

A 1962 press photo of actor Gregory Peck playing attorney Atticus Finch.
A 1962 press photo of actor Gregory Peck playing attorney Atticus Finch. Apuniversal

THE publishing of Harper Lee's sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird will be "the ultimate second act", according to SCU creative writing course coordinator Dr Lynda Hawryluk.

It was announced recently that HarperCollins will publish Go Set A Watchman on July 14, 50 years after Mockingbird came out, and already it is topping best selling lists based on pre-sale orders.

Dr Hawryluk has written several papers on Harper Lee and has had a long interest in her life and her great American novel.

"I first read it in sixth or seventh grade. My sister was set it at high school and I was reading all the books she was ... I just loved it, and I've probably read it every year since then. It's one of my touchstone books. As a writer you just think 'wow'," Dr Hawryluk said.

The long-lost manuscript was discovered last year, but its publication has been one of the best-kept secrets of the publishing world.

Set 20 years after Mockingbird, Go Set A Watchman was actually written before it.

Dr Hawryluk said one of the intriguing things about Harper Lee, a somewhat reclusive 88-year-old, is the mystique that has built up around her writing and releasing just one classic novel.

"There is a certain amount of cultural cachet in releasing just one great book.

"Lee has been quoted as saying 'I said what I had to say' and she acknowledged there is a risk that the only way is down.

"It (Mockingbird) is up there with The Bible in terms of sales and it's always on the list of best books ever written.

"But you have to have some faith that they are acting with Lee's approval.

"I mean people would read a shopping list that Harper Lee wrote, there is such a sense of mystery about her, but I don't think Mockingbird was a one-off; I think she is a great writer."

Topics:  harper lee southern cross university to kill a mockingbird


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