Go Set a Watchman is the recently discovered novel by Harper Lee, author of To Kill a Mockingbird. The novel is set during the mid-1950s and features many of the characters from To Kill a Mockingbird some twenty years later. Scout (Jean Louise Finch) has returned to Maycomb from New York to visit her father Atticus. She is forced to grapple with issues both personal and political as she tries to understand both her father’s attitude toward society, and her own feelings about the place where she was born and spent her childhood.
After To Kill a Mockingbird was published in 1960, Harper Lee set aside Go Set a Watchman, and never returned to it. The original manuscript of the novel was considered to have been lost until the autumn of 2014, when Tonja Carter discovered it in a secure location where it had been affixed to an original typescript of To Kill a Mockingbird.
Harper Lee says, ‘In the mid-1950s, I completed a novel called Go Set a Watchman. 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 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 it 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.’
#TKAM has sold over 40 million copies worldwide and been translated into over 40 languages. UK librarians have ranked the book ahead of the Bible as one ‘every adult should read before they die’ (Guardian) and its cultural significance remains unparalleled.
Despite being one of the worlds’ best loved novels, Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird is a book that some of the most avid readers haven’t picked up since school. In the run-up to the release of Harper Lee’s recently discovered novel, Go Set a Watchman on 14th July, we re-visited this brilliant piece of text and invited our communities to join us.
From 21st to 31st May 2015 we participated in a read-along for readers old and new, (re)discovering and discussing the book together to a loose ten-day plan with official resources to help participants get the most out of it. Character family trees, plot infographics, a 10 day storyline plan, a 15 minute book club discussion guide and more were shared across multiple social media platforms, to a massive global readership.
We know that many of you teach To Kill A Mockingbird in your classrooms and libraries and so wanted to create a space for all of this content to live, so that you can share it with your students whenever you wish.
All image cards shared below can also be found on the official Tumblr page for Go Set a Watchman.