LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird" has remained one of the most beloved books of the past five decades, and now the author will have the opportunity to revisit that singular success with "Go Set a Watchman," a sequel to the classic 1960 novel. The new book will be published by Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, on July 14, 2015.
"Watchman" was originally written before "Mockingbird," and features the bestseller's protagonist, Scout, as an adult. Set during the mid-1950s, it features many of the characters from "To Kill a Mockingbird" some twenty years later. Scout (Jean Louise Finch) has returned to Maycomb from New York to visit her father, Atticus. She 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.
"In the mid-1950s, I completed a novel called 'Go Set a Watchman.' It features the character known as Scout as an adult woman and I thought it a pretty decent effort," said Lee in a statement. "My editor, who was taken by the flashbacks to Scout's childhood, persuaded me to write a novel from the point of view of the young Scout. I was a first-time writer, so I did as I was told. I hadn't realized it 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."
The deal was negotiated by Michael Morrison, President and Publisher of HarperCollins US General Books Group and Canada, via Harper Lee's lawyer, Tonja Carter.
"I, along with millions of others around the world, always wished that Harper Lee had written another book. And what a brilliant book this is. I love 'Go Set a Watchman,' and know that this masterpiece will be revered for generations to come," said Morrison.
Jonathan Burnham, Senior Vice President and Publisher at Harper, said, "This is a remarkable literary event. The existence of 'Go Set a Watchman' was unknown until recently, and its discovery is an extraordinary gift to the many readers and fans of 'To Kill a Mockingbird.' Reading in many ways like a sequel to Harper Lee's classic novel, it is a compelling and ultimately moving narrative about a father and a daughter's relationship, and the life of a small Alabama town living through the racial tensions of the 1950s."
"Go Set a Watchman" will be published in the UK and Commonwealth by William Heinemann, an imprint of Penguin Random House Inc.
Robert Duvall, who played Boo Radley in Robert Mulligan's 1962 film, was one of the first to offer his congratulations to Lee on Twitter.