In 1956, Harper Lee received a unique Christmas gift. Her friends, Michael and Joy Brown, offered her one year’s salary on the condition that she quit her job and dedicate herself to her writing.
The result was To Kill a Mockingbird.
A novel gift indeed.
The film version was released on Christmas Day in 1962.
(info. source: thirteen.org)
What a Christmas present! It is like a fairy tale…. As extraordinary as the book itself….or as the film itself…thank you I did not know that wonderful story!!!
It’s a great story, isn’t it? What generous friends who obviously recognized the talent in their friend.
I did not know that.
I only found out about this recently – it’s a lovely story.
A gift to all of us who’ve read it.
So true, Tim. I’ve decided to reread it as it’s been many years since I last read it.
Wow…that’s an awesome gift!! It just means that the story really needed and wanted to be told! 🙂
That’s a great way of putting it, Shree!
What a wonderful gift. Actually it should be possible to do that a lot more often for family and friends. A little contribution here and there from everyone might mean that each person has an opportunity to fulfill a dream. We only need to think more creatively and behave more generously and miracles can happen.
Yes, like the art patrons of old, but now shared by friends and family. That’s a lovely idea.
Oh, I like your avatar 🙂
Thanks, I thought it was time for a change – I’m still playing around with finding the right photo!
I have read this book over and over and over! My belated thanks to Michael and Joy Brown. Their Christmas gift has multiplied year and year and year.
“Real courage is when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.” Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird
I love that you thought to thank Michael and Joy Brown – we should thank them too, you’re right!
I like you new gravatar!!!! 🙂
Thank you! Eventually I want to put one with me reading or something linked to my blog theme but I need to rummage through my photos…
What an amazing story… fairy godmothers indeed.
Fairy godmother, I like that, Valerie. Fairy Godmother and Father Christmas – a lovely Christmas gift and true understanding of what their friend needed at that point in her life.
Thanks so much for sharing this little snippet of wonderful information, I had no idea 🙂 Great book and film btw!
It’s rare that the film and book are both good, isn’t it? I love knowing this little backstory now too!
Great book. Great movie. I also enjoy the way Lee Harper turns up as the friend of Truman Capote in the movie In Cold Blood. Can’t remember if he also included his friendship with her in the book.
They were next door neighbors in their hometown, right? An interesting friendship there too.
I want those friends! 🙂
Great friends, right? And obviously she felt comfortable enough with them – and with herself and her writing – to accept.
Isn’t it hard to believe she only published that one novel. I still remember reading her book as a child and living each page. Scout is still one of my favorite characters. Thank the Lord for people like the Brown’s.
You’re right, one novel, but what a novel. I wonder if she had other ideas for books and if she has more writing but with all the success of her first novel feels too overwhelmed by it to publish anything else.
Well, I finally figured out what’s going on my Christmas list…
Hahaha! Let me know if you receive it!
Cool story – never heard it. They certainly got their $ worth.
Money well spent, I agree!
That’s one of my all-time favorite novels. Usually with books and movies the books are always better but with that one it’s impossible to decide. I’d love to be able to just concentrate on writing – definitely the ultimate Christmas present! I’m salivating just thinking of it.
That’s a good point, Sheila. Books are always better than their movie adaptations but in this case it’s a close call. I wonder if she was pleased with the adaptation.
A gift we can dream of yet rarely happens, thanks for enlightening me we sometimes forget everybody who writes started at the beginning with nothing but an idea.
That’s one of the wonders of art, right? An idea takes shape – seems so banal when written like that but creation never ceases to amaze.
Without that gift of a year of writing, I don’t think the book would have been written. Her one and only. Great novel and teaching tool. Thanks for jogging my memory.
Good point, Lynne; we may never had had that book without that generous gift.
It was indeed a wonderful gift, but I can’t help but imagine the pressure to produce something worthy of their investment. She was a brave woman with amazing friends.
I was thinking that too; what pressure! But maybe they had the kind of friendship where there wouldn’t be any kind of pressure. Just an opportunity given to be creative and write; regardless of the final product.
I’m with Kate! I want those friends, too.
Though technically Mr. H gave me that as my 30th birthday present so I could write all last year. And that’s when I finished up Beneath the Satin Gloves, started blogging, and spawned Everything’s Not Bigger. Funny how productive we can be without those silly jobs that pay the bills. : )
So true, Britt! You got so much done in one year, it’s so inspiring!
Wow!! I did not know that! And what a great Christmas gift it turned out to be for all of us!!
Thank you for sharing. Have a merry Christmas! 🙂
Thanks, Sumithra, you too!
You’re right, it turned out to be a gift to all of us in the end….
My cat, Atticus Finch, is extremely grateful.
Haha! Of course! I had forgotten that your cat was named Atticus!!
Learn something new everyday. I would love that gift.
Add it to your list this year, you never know!
I didn’t know that, and I even traveled to Alabama to see where she grew up!
That must have been a fun trip (have you blogged about it?)
The most beautiful gift she had ever received I am sure 🙂
Haha, you’re probably right!
Awesome fact to know…I wish some wonderful benefactor would start sharing the love with us as well.
Be patient… Christmas is just around the corner….
Ah a Christmas miracle! I shall call you my benefactor in readiness for your generosity hehe.
That was new to me — and what a gift that book is to the world!
Isn’t this a fascinating story, Christy? They must have recognized her talent in some way – or just recognized her need to write. Either way, you’re right, it turned out to be a gift to all of us as well!
What a wonderful story! Merry Christmas to you too!
Fun story, isn’t it? 🙂
To Kill a Mockingbird is Harper Lee’s only published book. Surprising, isn’t it?
It’s so fascinating, it’s true. I wonder if she continued, or continues, to write just for herself. Perhaps we’ll know one day…
Great post! And that’s an amazing group of friends who knew just what she needed, and were willing to do what it took to make it happen for her.
Best wishes for a Happy New Year!
Exactly, Naomi! “Friends who knew just what she needed” – you couldn’t have said it better!
best wishes for a wonderful new year to you as well!
I should consider bankrolling your salary for a season, Letizia. What could you come up with? (If someone wanted to do this for me, it wouldn’t take more than a car payment and a grocery bill to meet the difference!)
How about you spot me for this Spring and I’ll spot you for this Summer? We’ll both write masterpieces and dedicate them to each other, of course!
You got a deal – should we also write each other’s forwards?
Good idea- let’s go on book tours at the same time as well, it’s more fun that way!
The lines, though … can you imagine?
Like at Disney World…..
At least like the ladies’ loo at a baseball game …
For a writer this had to be the ultimate gift. And then in return she wrote a book that has given much to those who read it, and the millions that still watch and rewatch To Kill A Mocking Bird. V.
A gift that became a gift to the world!
I didn’t know that – what a lovely story.
In a way, it’s funny it is not a more know story, right? As it is so charming!
Welcome to my blog and thanks for taking the time to comment!
My book club read this last month (a re-read for all of us), I think my 4th time through! Every time through new gems of wisdom are discovered.
I like the idea that it was a reread for everyone in your book club. I’m sure that made for an interesting discussion; different from a first reading. 4th time reading it – that’s great!
Pingback: Imagine | silkannthreades