There was brilliant news this week about Harper Lee publishing a new book.
From what I understand Go Set A Watchman was her first book, and was rejected. (First shock – Harper Lee rejected!). But the publisher or agent suggested that the flashbacks to Scout’s childhood sounded interesting and she should write that. So she did, and To Kill A Mockingbird was born.
I think To Kill A Mockingbird is a fantastic book. It was a set text for me when I was doing my English exams. It’s one of those books that you MUST read that also turn out to be very enjoyable, even life-changing. It always puzzled me that she never wrote another book. I always felt that once you start writing, you can’t stop.
It’s kind of reassuring that even Harper Lee didn’t get it right the first time. It’s interesting to know that the publisher didn’t just reject it outright but gave a suggestion that led to the successful book. I’ve found this myself – rejections are rarely just ‘no’ but often have useful and interesting suggestions attached. And it’s wonderful that a book and a writer can have such resonance that fifty years later, a new book is greeted with such joy.