The literary world was stunned February when it was announced Harper Lee’s second novel, Go Set a Watchman, was discovered and set for a July 14 release. Lee’s lawyer and friend, Tonja Carter, reportedly found the long-lost manuscript of a book that was originally written before To Kill a Mockingbird, but set after the events of her landmark work.
But now questions have risen about the veracity of that narrative. The New York Times reported Thursday that Watchman might have been initially discovered in October 2011 when Carter, Justin Caldwell — a Sotheby’s auction house employee — and Samuel Pinkus — Lee’s former literary agent — traveled to Alabama to appraise certain items in Lee’s collection.
In a statement, Carter wrote to the Times, “If Sam discovered the Go Set a Watchman manuscript at that time, he told neither me nor Miss Alice [Lee] nor Nelle,” the latter being a family name for Harper Lee.
HarperCollins, the publisher of Watchman, sent a statement to USA Today about the supposed discovery of the manuscript. “HarperCollins was first informed of the discovery of the manuscript of Go Set a Watchman by Tonja Carter and Andrew Nurnberg (Lee’s literary agent) in 2014. We were not aware of the 2011 meeting, however we have no reason not to believe Carter’s account.”
Read the full report at The New York Times.