Harper Lee wrote her bestseller “To Kill a Mockingbird” way back in the 60s. It is a timeless epic about a lawyer named Finch who takes on a legal battle in favor of a black man accused of raping a white woman. The author is an old woman by now. And she hardly gives interviews or appears before the press.
Yet recently she allowed a digital version of her famous novel to enter the cyberspace environment. HarperCollins Publishers announced yesterday on Harper Lee's 88th birthday that they have acquired North American rights to the e-book and digital audio of Lee's beloved classic, To Kill a Mockingbird.
Lee who is well into her late eighties, said that she was an old school writer who still preferred dusty old books and libraries. She spoke of how the online version of “To Kill a Mockingbird” was for the younger generation of today who would be the flag bearers of the future times.
"I'm still old-fashioned. I love dusty old books and libraries," Lee said. "This is Mockingbird for a new generation."
To Kill a Mockingbird was published on July 11, 1960, by J. B. Lippincott and Co., a company which eventually became part of what is now HarperCollins Publishers. This novel has been translated into more than 40 languages.
Harper likes to keep to herself. She has not published a second novel after her original.It won the Pulitzer Prize way back then and today it is studied in classrooms in the United States and the UK.
The novel portrays the infamous Jim Crow Laws that were based on white supremacist prejudice way back in the 1930s. The novel showed the nature of bigotry and also lent a fly-on-the-wall view of magnanimity and the human spirit to fight for one’s rights.
So many readers around the world have spent countless hours reading and rereading this tale of hope and courage by Harper Lee. It has been published to the amount of some 30 million copies and there are translations in over four dozen languages.
To Kill a Mockingbird will be available as a straight text e-book for the first time ever. An enhanced e-book of this novel with extra exclusive content and Oscar-winning actress Sissy Spacek's narrated digital audio will also be available .
Both the e-book and digital audio will be released on July 8, 2014 at the 54th anniversary of the book's original publication. Random House will assume the e-book and digital audio rights in the UK.
"Every home has a dog-eared copy of To Kill a Mockingbird, and now readers will be able to add this favorite book to their digital libraries," says Michael Morrison, President and Publisher of HarperCollins U.S. General Books Group and Canada. "Although today is Nelle Harper Lee's birthday, she is giving readers around the world the gift of being able to read or listen to this extraordinary story in all formats."
Resounding thanks goes out to Harper Lee for freeing the fire of literature for avid readers all around the global village. It is a true gauge of how culture is transmitted via memes preserved on the Internet for the future progeny of mankind.