Books

Unseen Harper Lee letters give an intimate insight into the author’s life

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Jasmine Andersson
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An unseen collection of letters from literary luminary Harper Lee are set to be sold at an auction this week.

The 38 letters, written between 2005 and 2010 to Lee’s friend Felice Itzkoff, known affectionately as “Clipper”. 

Providing a fascinating insight into Lee’s atheism, her relationship with her father, and her views on Barack Obama, the collection details Lee’s hopes for a black female American President in the future, reports The Guardian

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“On this Inauguration Day I count my blessings,” wrote Lee on Obama’s first inauguration in 2009.

“I’m also thinking of another friend, Greg Peck, who was a good friend of LBJ. Greg said to him: ‘Do you suppose we will live to see a black president?’ LBJ said: ‘No, but I wish her well.’” 

In another letter, Lee discusses her relationship with her father, who she regarded as “like God”.



“I am so proud to say that he was my friend,” she wrote.

“I loved him with all my heart and shall miss him for as long as I am aware of anything. I never knew anybody like him except for my father, they had many traits in common. He was a great gentleman, and he did look like God!”

To Kill A Mockingbird film still

Lee's own father was said to be the inspiration behind character Atticus Finch

In the letters, Lee also details her more mundane days, stating that she could “go crazy from boredom”.

“My dear Friend of the beautiful face and beautiful hand: It is so Hebrews 13.8 here,” Lee writes in one letter in 2009. that I nearly go crazy from boredom, but I should not complain because things could be quite different. The truth is: I am crazy anyway.”



Although fans can bid for the collection online, they might have to empty their savings account first.

The starting price for the 38 letters is $10,000 (£7,580).

Lee, who wrote the iconic Nobel Prize-winning novel To Kill A Mockingbird, passed away in 2016, aged 89. 

Images: Rex Features

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Jasmine Andersson

When she isn't talking about her emotional attachment to meal deals or serenading unfortunate individuals with David Bowie power solos in karaoke booths, Jasmine writes about gender, politics and culture as a freelance journalist. She wastes her days tweeting @the__chez  

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