American author Harper Lee will release a sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird – her only published work – this summer. Lee's publisher told the Associated Press that the book, Go Set a Watchman, is a sequel to Mockingbird and is set in Maycomb, Alabama, 20 years after the first story. The book finds the main character, Scout, as an adult woman returning to her hometown from New York to visit her father, Atticus. On the trip, Scout confronts "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."
Lee reportedly completed the book in the mid-'50s. Scout's childhood flashbacks struck a nerve with her editor at the time, who convinced Lee to set aside her original manuscript and write a new story entirely from Scout's perspective as a young girl. Lee's lawyer discovered the original book "affixed to an original typescript" of Mockingbird, and a first run of two million copies, plus an electronic edition, is planned for release on July 14.
Lee, like fellow literary icon J.D. Salinger, has led an extremely private life in the wake of her book's success. Salinger's estate has also announced plans to release five new, undiscovered books by the author between 2015 and 2020. The Pulitzer-Prize-winning Mockingbird was published in July 1960 and is widely regarded as one of the most important works of the 20th century.
"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," Lee said in a statement. "I am humbled and amazed that this will now be published after all these years."
This article was originally published on Esquire.com