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Harper Lee Private Letters up for Auction

By March 30, 2016Authors

Harper Lee is a name known the world over; her ground-breaking iconic novel To Kill a Mockingbird remains on many educational facility’s required reading lists and it is a classic that many of us hobby readers will have on their shelves. It was an unmitigated success upon its release and Harper became very well known both inside and outside of literary circles; in fact the only person who didn’t seem to enjoy the success of Harper’s writing was Harper herself.

Harper never enjoyed being famous and steadfastly refused to become one of the red carpet brigade, living a constant cycle of interviews and photo shoots, granting her last interview in 1964, she chose instead to retire to relative obscurity and lived out the remainder of her days without ever publishing another novel, (yes I know but I don’t think Harper herself had an awful lot to do with the publication of Go Set a Watchman) happy with her lot and with offering the occasional helping hand to her good friend Truman Capote.

Sadly it doesn’t seem as though the people that surrounded her are prepared to honour her desire to remain private and for want of a better word are out for a quick buck.

There was huge controversy when Go Set a Watchman was released last year, with many speculating that the novel was being released without Harper’s consent but, as she was in failing health she was unable to refute claims that the novel had been released at her behest and so it went on sale to mixed reviews in July of 2015.

And now, less than 6 weeks after her death Harper’s hard fought for privacy has been betrayed again and in a much more personal manner.

Private correspondence between Harper and her friends Doris and Bill Leapard and to Don Salter, an admirer of her work is to be put up for auction and sold to the highest bidder. These are not stories, or dry academic pieces of literature, these are personal letters in which Harper lays herself and her frailties bare to her friends and confidantes. She apologises for lateness of reply, bemoans her inabilities and failing health. Yes they are interspersed with humorous anecdotes and scathing observations but surely they are not and never were intended to be used for monetary gain?

We have chosen not to replicate any of Harper’s letters ourselves in honour of the author’s wishes but you can read excerpts of them here if you so desire and the lots will be auctioned by the auction house Nate D Saunders on March 30th. Each letter is expected to sell for upwards of $750.

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