Name at birth: Nelle Harper LeeHarper Lee wrote To Kill a Mockingbird, a classic of American literature and a bestselling novel since 1960. Harper Lee grew up in the small southern town of Monroeville, Alabama, next door to young Truman Capote, on whom she based the book's character Dill. She studied for a law career, but in 1950 headed to New York to embark on a life of writing. Beginning in 1959 she worked with Capote on his book In Cold Blood (published in 1966) After several revisions, her novel of growing up amid social tensions in the American south was published in 1960 to great acclaim and robust sales. It won a Pulitzer Prize and was made into a successful 1962 film starring Gregory Peck as the father, Atticus Finch. By the end of the 1960s, Harper Lee was dubbed "reclusive" for shunning media attention, and she remained famous throughout her life for minding her own business. Although she published short pieces in magazines after Mockingbird, Lee did not publish another novel until 2015, when Go Set A Watchman was published. Lee had written the book in 1957, and the manuscript was apparently lost for decades. It is considered by many to be a first draft of Mockingbird.
Over the years, a rumor spread that Truman Capote was the true author of To Kill a Mockingbird — or that he edited it for Harper Lee. Most scholars consider the rumor to be unfounded… Harper Lee is no relation to the owners of the HarperCollins publishing house.