We know her as the creator of Scout and Atticus and the author of the revolutionary novel To Kill a Mockingbird, but here are a couple of surprising facts that make us love this badass writer… WARNING: GIFs ahead.
1. To Kill a Mockingbird was her first and last book
Lee wrote the race-themed novel when she was 30. Why write more when you’ve already reached perfection? She joins other one novel-wonders such as Ralph Ellison (Invisible Man), Margaret Mitchell (Gone with the Wind) and J.D. Salinger (The Catcher in the Rye).
“When you’re at the top, there’s only one way to go,” Lee expressed to her cousin.
2. She’s a fan of Jane Austen
Being an Austen fanatic, or “Janeite” as they call themselves in the literary realm, may not make you a badass, but it does automatically make you royalty. In high school, Lee’s teacher introduced her to the works of the brilliant writer and since then, Lee’s goal was to “become the Jane Austen of south Alabama.”
3. Lee stood up to Truman Capote’s bullies.
Capote and Lee grew up as childhood biffles. Lee protected Truman when schoolmates made fun of his clothes and voice. She later helped her BFF write an article for The New Yorker that inspired his novel In Cold Blood. Lee traveled with Capote to Kansas to help him perform interviews with her easy-breezy personality and Southern sass. Capote even based the character Isabel from Other Voices, Other Rooms off Lee and Lee, in return, based Dill Harris off Capote. Awwwwww! I wonder if they have matching BFF bracelets…
4. She did other things besides produce the most epic novel in history
Before publishing her novel, Lee studied law at the University of Alabama and Oxford University. In the 1950s, she found her calling. She ditched school and worked as an airline reservation clerk until she could write fulltime.
5. She’s not about that limelight life
After writing To Kill a Mockingbird, Lee moved from New York to her hometown Monroeville and has not given a formal interview since the mid-1960s. “Not just no, but hell no,” became her favorite response to pesky journalists. She did file a lawsuit against her hometown museum in 2013 for using the novel’s name and selling souvenirs without permission. She takes smack from no one!
6. She transferred life experiences to pages
The hunky Atticus Finch is based on Lee’s lawyer dad, A.C. Lee. Gregory Peck **drool** visited A.C. to prepare for his role as Atticus and Lee even gave Peck her father’s watch. During her childhood, A.C. defended two black men who were accused of murdering a shopkeeper.That sounds a little familiar…
7. Harper Lee isn’t even her name!
8. Books > Annoying People
Lee stood out in college because she would rather spend time with books and studies than fashion and gossip. Ain’t no body got tiiiiiiiime for nonsense!
Did we miss anything? Post more reasons why Harper Lee (or Nelle as I like to call her because we’re on a first name basis) is a badass in the comment section!