Whenever a name reaches the top of a Twitter trends feed there is an instant reaction prior to clicking the link – that person either did something extraordinarily newsworthy or they have passed on. Harper Lee's name reached the top of the list not too long ago with the news that a second book, Go Set A Watchman, was to be released as a long-lost sequel to To Kill A Mockingbird. Today it was due to the announcement of her death. So far, little is known about the cause of death. Questions were raised about her mental state following the release of her second novel, she suffered a stroke in 2007 but, at the age of 89, it is most likely a case of old age..
The legacy of Harper Lee is a novel that will shape generations.
The death of Harper Lee has some people questioning whether or not this would even be considered breaking world news if it wasn't for that one book that everyone was made to read in high school. What some cynics fail to realise here is that this single book not only shaped childhood reading lists and coursework grades, it shaped the way that many of us considered the world around us, from our teenage years right into adulthood. To Kill A Mockingbird is not a children's book of morality and race, it is simply a well-told story with heart and meaning that anyone can connect to. This is as true for those that first read it at 14 as those that first pick it up at 34.
It is one book, one deeply significant achievement in a long life, but it is one that resonates with the world today and will have a place in popular culture for decades to come. Whenever we look at racial prejudices and inequalities in the world, we can pick up To Kill A Mockingbird, hand it to our children and let Scout and Atticus teach them the way.
The death of Harper Lee will be mourned by novelists that were inspired by her voice and characterisations, fans that kept a dog-eared copy of the book on their shelves wherever they went, teachers that appreciated this teaching aid and all the children currently reading the story for first time. #Celebrities #Art #Books