A Tea with a Book Addict talk
This novel won the Pulitzer Prize, and is beloved around the world, and yet its topics of rape and racial inequality have also made it controversial. Did it allow Harper Lee to live up to her desire to be ‘The Jane Austen of South Alabama’? What makes this book so powerful?
“I remember starting it and just devouring it, not being able to get enough of it,”
― Oprah Winfrey
This novel won the Pulitzer Prize, and is beloved around the world, and yet its topics of rape and racial inequality have also made it controversial. It is high on the list of novels banned from American libraries and schools. Some argue that because its pages include the word ‘Nigger’, it should not be read by modern readers, while others insist that its message about fairness, legal justice for all regardless of skin colour, its coming of age story and its heroine’s loss of innocence, is something that every child needs to know.
Harper Lee was given an incredibly generous Christmas gift of one year of finance that would allow her to quit her job and focus on writing – the result was this amazing book. Should she have remained a ‘one-book author, or was it the right thing to publish Go Set a Watchman near the end of her life? Did To Kill a Mockingbird allow Harper Lee to live up to her desire to be ‘The Jane Austen of South Alabama’? What makes this book so powerful?
To Kill a Mockingbird was a novel that provoked social change. It had a great impact on the American Civil Rights Movement, showing through fiction and the power of readers’ imaginations just what it was like to for a black man to face a court of white jurors when accused of raping a white woman. The American Bar Association erected a monument to Atticus Finch, in gratitude for all he did to improve the public profile of lawyers. The book moved people, changed their minds and helped bring about greater equality in the American South.
Join me in Alabama for an exploration of this powerful novel, and a look at the reclusive and strong-minded woman behind it.