Book reviews, Pullitzer, Booker, Costa and Children's Book reviews
Book reviews, Pullitzer, Booker, Costa and Children's Book reviews
Prize Winning Fiction
Prize Winning Fiction

1961 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction Winner

To Kill A Mocking Bird by Harper Lee


Publisher: Vintage

Length: 307 pages

About: Childhood view of 1930s Alabama

Style: 1st person

Where: US (Alabama)

When: 1930s



Publisher’s synopsis:

Set in a sleepy town in South Alabama during the Great Depression in the 1930s, this is a multi-layered story which dissects the white and black communities of the American South. Told with gentle humour, it focuses on religious turpitude and the ambivalence of adult morality.



‘Scout, simply by the nature of the work, every lawyer gets at least one case in his lifetime that affects him personally. This one’s mine, I guess. You might hear some ugly talk about it at school, but do one thing for me if you will: you just hold your head high and keep those fists down.’




Miss Lee excels in recapturing her childhood and the children she writes about are worth knowing….The plot is well constructed, the tone of the opening is preserved to the end and the message one that can stand repetition.

Times Literary Supplement 28th October 1960


Not so good:

It is frankly and completely impossible, being told in the first person by a six-year-old girl with the prose style of a well-educated adult. Miss Lee has, to be sure, made an attempt to confine the information in the text to what Scout would actually know, but it is no more than a casual gesture toward plausibility.

Phoebe Adams, Atlantic Monthly 1960


About the author

Harper Lee was born in 1926 in Monroeville, Alabama, a village that is still her home.Before she started writing she lived in New York, where she worked for an airline on the reservations desk. Lee spent two and a half years writing To Kill a Mockingbird. A description of the book's creation by the National Endowment for the Arts relates an episode wherein Lee became so frustrated that she tossed the manuscript out the window into the snow. Her agent made her retrieve it from the street. The book was published on July 11, 1960. It was initially titled Atticus, but Lee retitled the novel to reflect a story that went beyond a character portrait. The editorial team at Lippincott warned Lee that she would probably sell only several thousand copies at the most.


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Novels by same author:






1962 film starring Gregory Peck








2016 Pulitzer Prize Winner

It's a massive day in arts and journalism because the 100th annual Pulitzer Prize winners were just announced, and there's a big surprise. 2015's best artistic and nonfiction writing across 21 categories were recognized during a ceremony Monday afternoon at Columbia University in New York City. The first Pulitzer Prize was awarded to Hebert Bayward Swope, a reporter for The New York World, in 1916. (And if you're as big a fan of Newsies as I am, that paper should ring a bell, but try to think of it more positively.)

The major prize for book nerds, the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction went to The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen (Grove Press), a legitimate surprise, if you've been paying attention to the book nerd and industry buzz. The feeling around the prize in the last few months would have you putting all your hard-earned cash down on A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara to take home the award, but that's why you should never gamble. Viet Thanh Nguyen is no less deserving, and moreover, it's his debut novel, which makes it such a wonderful win.

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