Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird

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?

A subscriber-only Zoom talk on Sunday 18 April 2021, 4.00 pm Australian Eastern Time (Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra).

Don’t worry if you can’t make the Zoom timeslot – subscribers automatically receive this video talk.

“I remember starting it and just devouring it, not being able to get enough of it,”
― Oprah Winfrey

Prize winning and controversial

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?

Responsible for social change

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.

Discuss it with me

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. What makes this book so powerful? Let’s discuss it here.

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I only recommend books I have read or know. Some of these links are my affiliate links. If you buy a book by clicking on one of these links I receive a small commission. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, but does help cover the cost of producing my free newsletter.
Featured image credit- Inger Nilsson as Pippi Longstocking, 1969 Beta Film TV series adaptation, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0062598/

Comments (4)

  1. Heather Grant

    A powerful and wonderful novel. I have read it about 3 times now and still find it a compelling read. Looking forward to the lecture.

  2. Susannah Fullerton

    I have so enjoyed revisiting the book in preparation for the talk. Hope you enjoy it.

  3. Anne Williams

    Morning Susannah, I’m so looking forward to this afternoons talk.
    It will take me back to the year before Covid when we had that absolutely amazing
    Trip to the Deep South and actually going to Monroeville and watch the play.
    What a great Literary Tour we enjoyed.

    • Susannah Fullerton

      It was such a memorable trip, wasn’t it! And Monroeville and the play were an absolute highlight. I’m delighted you have such good memories of it all, Anne.

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