The Bibliophile's Adventurers Club

Exemplars of bookish delight

To Kill a Mockingbird

In 1956, a young lady by the name of Nelle Harper Lee received a very special Christmas gift–a year’s worth of wages, with which accompanied the following note,¬†You have one year off from your job to write whatever you please. Merry Christmas.

Miss Lee spent the following year writing a series of long stories into a novel-length work. She continued to polish that novel, and on June 11, 1960 To Kill a Mockingbird was published.

It was an immediate success.

It went on to earn the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction (1961); it was voted ‘Best Novel of the Century’ (Library Journal, 1999). It was made into a movie (1962) and a play (1990). Its cover has received countless¬† face lifts . . .


Chances are good, you’ve read it yourself. There’s a good chance you own a copy.

Like many, I was assigned the first read in Junior High. It does not bode well for an assigned book in Junior High. Such was the case with To Kill a Mockingbird–far too tragic for my taste.

Only when I read it as an adult did I truly take the book to heart.

You know, down through the years publishers have attempted to get Harper Lee to write an introduction. She’s always refused, “Introductions inhibit pleasure, they kill the joy of anticipation, they frustrate curiosity. The only good thing about Introductions is that in some cases they delay the dose to come. Mockingbird still says what it has to say; it has managed to survive the years without preamble.”

I love that.

And it just might be that straight forward, say it like it is style that keeps calling us back for more . . .


  1. I had no idea that’s how she wrote the book. Christmas present indeed!

    • amelia

      11 July 2013 at 10:39 am

      I’m fairly certain that is every writer’s dream! One year without financial worry . . . just to see what you can do!

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