Nelle Harper Lee was born in Monroeville, Alabama, in 1926. She was the youngest of five children. Her father, Amasa Lee, was a lawyer. As a child, she was a tomboy and the neighbor and best friend of Truman Capote.
Lee attended Huntingdon College, where she began writing. In 1956, she was given a year’s paid leave to write “whatever [she] pleased.” Eventually, on July 11, 1960, her first and only novel was published. To Kill a Mockingbird became an instant classic. Lee won the Pulitzer Prize the following year, and in 1962, the film adaptation won three Academy Awards.
Since then, Lee has been “reclusive” and camera-shy. Though she began work on two other books, neither was ever published. She rarely grants interviews or makes public appearances, though she was present to accept the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2007. [x]