American novelist Nell Harper Lee

Harper was born on April 28, 1926, the daughter of an editor and a lawyer in Monroeville, Alabama. Lee was a restless child, a friend of the boy next door, and had an early interest in books. At the age of 5, she witnessed the trials of an interracial rape case, during which the crowd was ready to tear the accused apart, despite the lack of evidence and any evidence of their guilt. After completing her high school education in her hometown, Harper left to continue her education at Huntingdon Women's College in Montgomery, and then rolled as a lawyer at the University of Alabama. She'd spent a year on an exchange course at Oxford University, planning to go to work for her father's firm. However, 6 months before receiving her diploma, she abruptly changed her mind, dropped out of school and went to New York, where she sold air tickets until the early sixties.

Lee took her first steps in literature while still a student, as an editor of the magazine and publishing short stories. After dropping out of school, Lee began to dream of a career as a writer, combining work with the publication of short stories. At the end of the fall of 1956, she decided to hire a literary agent, and at Christmas, her friends gave her a paid one-year vacation to write a book.

Influenced by her childhood experiences with the Scottsboro case, Lee created a rough version of “To Kill a Mockingbird”, which she published in July 1960. The work immediately became a hit, received positive reviews from critics and the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction. The book was included in the list of the most significant works, and later called the best work of the century. The writer herself was stunned by this success. According to some literary critics, this popularity was caused by the beginning of the struggle for civil rights, during which the work was published. After the publication of her famous novel, Lee hardly spoke to anyone except her childhood friends and her sister. She was repeatedly invited to the presentation of honorary awards and prizes, but she refused to speak there with a thank-you speech, in her own words, not wanting to seem stupid.

In the fall of 2007, she suffered a stroke, after which she moved to a nursing home, where her sister regularly visited her. In the same year, she was awarded the highest award – the Presidential Medal of Freedom. After the death of her sister, Lee withdrew into herself and died two years later.

Nazira Artykbayeva, librarian of the International Book Department