A descendant of Robert E. Lee, Nelle Harper Lee was born in Monroeville, Alabama. She studied law at the University of Alabama, but left school to pursue a writing career.
Her novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, is set in Maycomb, Alabama. It tells the story of a young white girl named Scout, and her father Atticus Fitch, a white attorney who, by defending an innocent black man, refuses to give in to the pressure of the prejudiced society in which he lives. Lee received a Pulitzer Prize in 1961 for her work. She retired to Monroeville and did not publish another novel until 2015. That novel, Go Set a Watchman, which was written in the 1950s before To Kill a Mockingbird, tells the story of Scout's return to Maycomb as a young woman trying to understand both her father's attitude toward society and her own feelings about the place where she was born and spent her childhood.