Nelle Harper Lee (born April 28, 1926) is an American author best known for her 1960 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel To Kill A Mockingbird, which deals with the issues of racism that were observed by the author as a child in her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama. Despite being Lee’s only published book, it led to Lee being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom of the United States for her contribution to literature in 2007. Lee has also been the recipient of numerous honorary degrees, but has always declined to make a speech.
Nelle Harper Lee was born in Monroeville, Alabama, the youngest of four children of Amasa Coleman Lee and Frances Cunningham Finch Lee. Her mother’s maiden name was Finch. Her father, a former newspaper editor and proprietor, was a lawyer who served in the Alabama State Legislature from 1926 to 1938. As a child, Lee was a tomboy and a precocious reader, and was best friends with her schoolmate and neighbor, the young Truman Capote.
In 1944, Lee graduated from Monroe County High School in Monroeville. She enrolled at the all-female Huntingdon College in Montgomery for one year, and pursued a law degree at the University of Alabama from 1945 to 1949, pledging the Chi Omega sorority. Lee wrote for several student publications and spent a year as editor of the campus humor magazine, Rammer Jammer. Though she did not complete the law degree, she studied for a summer in Oxford, England, before moving to New York City in 1950, where she worked as a reservation clerk with Eastern Air Lines and BOAC.
Lee continued as a reservation clerk until 1958, when she devoted herself to writing. She lived a frugal life, traveling between her cold-water-only apartment in New York City and her family home in south-central Alabama to care for her father.
From Harper Lee at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harper_Lee