Not believing in biographies of living writers, Harper Lee declined to be interviewed for one, but Madden draws on extensive research--including trips to Monroeville, Ala., and interviews with classmates, colleagues and town residents--to explore how Lee's life and times inspired her masterpiece.
To Kill a Mockingbird has sold 30 million copies in 40 languages and continues to sell 10,000 copies per year, and Lee is "one of the authors most read by American students." A narrative both well paced and richly detailed--even reproducing two of Lee's stories for her college literary magazine and excerpting a recent letter to O magazine, not included in Charles Shields's excellent I Am Scout (2008)--this biography will appeal to fans of the novel and to newcomers. Readers will find a fascinating portrait of an independent young woman stubbornly going her own way to become the one thing she wanted to be: a writer. Extensive source notes and an excellent bibliography round out this superb biography, one of the best in the Up Close series. (foreword, index) (Biography. 12 & up)