19 February, 2016
Famed American writer Harper Lee has died. She was 89.
Lee died in her hometown of Monroeville in the southern state of Alabama. The cause of death was not announced.
Lee was the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book "To Kill a Mockingbird." Published in 1960, it was one of the most famous and beloved American novels. It still sells about one million copies each year.
Lee was born in Monroeville, but lived for many years in New York City. She suffered a stroke in 2007 and moved back to her hometown.
"To Kill a Mockingbird" is a story about racism and injustice in the Deep South. It was made into a movie starring Gregory Peck in 1962. The film won three Academy Awards. Harper Lee was very protective of the book being used in other media. But she approved of the movie version.
A Broadway version of "To Kill a Mockingbird" is to be staged in 2017. Television and film writer Aaron Sorkin will adapt the novel. Schools and small theater groups for years have produced an earlier play version written by Christopher Sergel.
Last year, Harper Lee produced another book called "Go Set a Watchman." The surprise second novel became the fastest-selling book in the history of publisher HarperCollins. The company reported that more than 1.1 million copies were sold in North America in its first week.
"Watchman" includes many of the same characters found in "To Kill A Mockingbird." The newer novel was actually an early version of "Mockingbird."
Most critics did not like "Go Set a Watchman." Many Harper Lee fans expressed concern that the novel would damage the author's reputation in the future.
I'm Anne Ball.
Caty Weaver wrote this story for VOA Learning English. Mario Ritter was the editor.
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Words in This Story
author – n. a person who has written a book or who writes many books
novel – n. a long written story usually about imaginary characters and events
Deep South – n. the states in the most southern and eastern part of the U.S. and especially Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, Louisiana, and Mississippi
stage – v. to produce (a play, performance, etc.) on a stage
reputation – n. the common opinion that people have about someone or something: the way in which people think of someone or something