‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ sequel announcement turns Twitter into a literal mocking bird

More like 'To Kill a Twitter Meme.'

Mar 1, 2020, 11:10 am*

Internet Culture

 

Miles Klee

We bet you didn’t have this in your 2015 literary news betting pool: Harper Lee, the 88-year-old author of To Kill a Mockingbird, will drop her second book this July. “In the mid-1950s, I completed a novel called Go Set a Watchman,” Lee said in a statement issued by her publisher, explaining how the manuscript had been lost:

“It features the character known as Scout as an adult woman, and I thought it a pretty decent effort. My editor, who was taken by the flashbacks to Scout’s childhood, persuaded me to write a novel (what became To Kill a Mockingbird) 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 [the original book] 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.”

It’s not often that a reclusive writer with one (admittedly canonical) book to their name waits a full 55 years to deliver a follow-up, and Twitter reacted with the full range of shocked disbelief, mostly in the form of corny jokes, which themselves became the object of derisive critique.

https://twitter.com/Slade/status/562635639657873408

https://twitter.com/joshpetri/status/562636498307399680

https://twitter.com/rustyk5/status/562638618523869184

https://twitter.com/bobbyfinger/status/562636560559251457

Lee—whom many thought was dead—is unlikely to join her fellow novelists in self-promoting through Twitter, not least because an egg is squatting on the handle @HarperLee. It wasn’t until last spring that she even agreed to let HarperCollins publish ebook and audiobook editions of To Kill a Mockingbird. Then again, it’s not like she’ll need much help moving the 2 million copies printed in the first run of Go Set a Watchman.

But that reminds me: We’re well overdue for a parody J.D. Salinger account.

Illustration by Max Fleishman

Share this article
*First Published: Feb 3, 2015, 1:51 pm