Here are the details, from a press release today from publisher Harper Collins:
Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, is thrilled to announce it has acquired North American rights to a newly discovered novel by Harper Lee, beloved author of “To Kill a Mockingbird.” The novel, which Lee titled “Go Set a Watchman” will be published on July 14th, 2015.
[“Go Set a Watchman” was actually Lee’s first completed novel, and predates her writing of “To Kill a Mockingbird”]
Harper Lee [now 88] 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.”
“Go Set a Watchman” 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 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 by J. B. Lippincott 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 fall 2014, when Tonja Carter discovered it in a secure location where it had been affixed to an original typescript of “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
Jonathan Burnham, Senior Vice President and Publisher, Harper, says, “This is a remarkable literary event. The existence of ‘Go Set a Watchman’ was unknown until recently, and its discovery is an extraordinary gift to the many readers and fans of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird.’ Reading in many ways like a sequel to Harper Lee’s classic novel, it is a compelling and ultimately moving narrative about a father and a daughter’s relationship, and the life of a small Alabama town living through the racial tensions of the 1950s.”