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Harper Lee's second novel, a 'Mockingbird' follow-up featuring adult Scout, arriving in July

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To Kill a Mockingbird author Harper Lee’s second novel, which features her heroine Scout as an adult, will be published in July, Harper Collins announced today. 

Though it takes place after the classic novel, Lee’s only published work, the new book, Go Set a Watchman, was actually completed before To Kill a Mockingbird, the Associated Press reported. Lee revealed in a statement that her editor at the time was “taken by the flashbacks to Scout’s childhood” and encouraged her to write a novel from the younger Scout’s perspective. 

“I was a first-time writer, so I did as I was told,” Lee said in the statement. “I hadn’t realized it (the original book) had survived, so was surprised and delighted when my dear friend and lawyer Tonja Carter discovered it. After much thought and hesitation, I shared it with a handful of people I trust and was pleased to hear that they considered it worthy of publication. I am humbled and amazed that this will now be published after all these years.” 

Go Set a Watchman takes place in Maycomb, Alabama, about 20 years following the events of To Kill a Mockingbird. In the novel Scout comes back to Maycomb from New York to visit Atticus, and, according to the announcement, “is forced to grapple with issues both personal and political as she tries to understand her father’s attitude toward society, and her own feelings about the place where she was born and spent her childhood.” 

Per the AP, the book is 304 pages long and will have a first printing of 2 million copies. It will be released July 14.