To Lose A Mockingbird

Author Harper Lees Dies at 89

Courtesy of

Jaylin Paschal, Editor-in-Chief

Critically acclaimed author Harper Lee died at the age of 89 on February 19. Lee was the winner of the 1961 Pulitzer Prize for her novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. The story of a white lawyer working relentlessly (to no avail) to save a black man from the forces of southern prejudice shook the nation and was declared a literary masterpiece. For her combination of artistic prose and fierce social commentary, Lee was showered in much critical and commercial success for her work. It remains on top-sellers lists and has sold more than 30 million copies. Over 50 years after To Kill A Mockingbird‘s publication, the novel continues to be intensely studied by middle, high school, and college students globally, in 40 language translations.

The novel was also adapted into a film, winning four Academy Awards.

Despite the novel’s place in the hearts of bookworms around the world, To Kill A Mockingbird faced much opposition. The controversial novel on racism, rape, and justice found itself on many banned books lists. Teachers and parents alike have challenged this book, arguing that it is inappropriate for children because of profanity and complex themes.

Controversy aside, the novel has been impactful in promoting tolerance and detesting bigotry. Lee’s work shapes her legacy in the realms of fiction, social justice, and activism. Her words outlive her by delivering timeless messages.

Although I am deeply saddened by the loss of a literary hero of mine, I know that she lives through her insightful story about humanity and hate, nestled in my bookshelf and speaking through her characters.