VIDEO: Preview HARPER LEE: AMERICAN MASTERS Airing Tonight on PBS
One of the most influential American novels of the 20th century and biggest bestsellers of all time, To Kill a Mockingbird was believed to be the first and only novel by Nelle Harper Lee (born April 28, 1926), until now. On July 14, HarperCollins will release Lee's earliest known work, Go Set a Watchman, featuring characters from her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, which was published 55 years ago (July 11, 1960).
In honor of this landmark literary event, THIRTEEN's AMERICAN MASTERS series presents a newly updated version of Emmy®-winning filmmaker Mary McDonagh Murphy's 2012 documentary Harper Lee: Hey, Boo, broadcast as Harper Lee: AMERICAN MASTERS on Friday, July 10, 9 - 10:30 p.m. on PBS (check local listings). The author of Scout, Atticus & Boo: A Celebration of To Kill a Mockingbird, Murphy was able to read an advance copy of the new novel before updating the film and will live tweet (#HarperLeePBS) during the broadcast.
"Go Set a Watchman was written before To Kill a Mockingbird and believed to be lost or destroyed. Its remarkable discovery allows readers of Lee's beloved classic the chance to see Atticus and Scout again. How and why this happened is a mystery we unravel in the new version of the documentary," said Murphy.
In the New York metro area, PBS flagship station THIRTEEN, which produces the AMERICAN MASTERS series, will celebrate the release of Go Set a Watchman with "THIRTEEN Days of Harper Lee," a 13-day, multi-platform event on-air, online and in the community from Sunday, July 5 - Friday, July 17 featuring web exclusive content, broadcast interstitials and more:
July 5: "THIRTEEN Days of Harper Lee" launches at thirteen.org/americanmasters
July 6: To Kill a Mockingbird online book club in partnership with New York Public Library launches (runs through July 13)
July 7: New, multimedia To Kill a Mockingbird classroom resources for teachers on PBS LearningMedia
July 8: Online To Kill a Mockingbird quiz and Harper Lee book bundle giveaway
July 9: MetroFocus interview with Murphy premieres at 7 p.m. on WLIW21, 8:30 p.m. on THIRTEEN, 10:30 p.m. on NJTV and online
July 11: ReddIt AMA with Murphy at 2 p.m.ET
July 13:Harper Lee: AMERICAN MASTERS free screening and Q&A with Murphy at the Tisch WNET Studios at Lincoln Center. Q&A streamed live online at 7 p.m.ET
July 14: Encore broadcast of Harper Lee: AMERICAN MASTERS at 6:30 p.m. and late night at 1:30 a.m. on WORLDTM (check local listings) and WLIW WorldJuly 15: Go Set a Watchman first chapter on the AMERICAN MASTERS website; encore broadcast ofHarper Lee: AMERICAN MASTERS at 9:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. on WORLDTM (check local listings) and WLIW World July 16: Go Set a Watchman: What Readers are Saying web feature July 17: Six Degrees of Harper Lee web feature
Lee once said she wanted to be South Alabama's Jane Austen, but became an enigma when she stopped speaking to press in 1964 after her whirlwind success. Harper Lee: American Mastersoffers an unprecedented look at Lee's life, illuminates the phenomenon behind To Kill a Mockingbirdand the Oscar®-winning 1962 film adaptation, and previews Go Set a Watchman, which Lee wrote in 1957. The documentary features interviews with Lee's friends and family -- including her centenarian sister Alice (now deceased) -- who share intimate recollections, anecdotes and biographical details for the first time: Lee's rise from small-town Alabama girl to famous author, her tumultuous friendship with Truman Capote, and the origin of her most memorable characters: Atticus Finch, his daughter Scout, her friend Dill, and Boo Radley.
The film also explores the context and history of the novel's Deep South setting and the social changes it inspired after publication and through the feature film starring Gregory Peck. Oprah Winfrey, Rosanne Cash, Tom Brokaw, Pulitzer Prize-winners Rick Bragg, Anna Quindlen, Richard Russo, Jon Meacham and Diane McWhorter, James Patterson, Wally Lamb, Scott Turow, civil rights leader Andrew Young, and others reflect on the novel's power, influence, popularity, and the ways it has shaped their lives.
"Harper Lee was ahead of her time. She challenged the social order and made a cultural impact with To Kill a Mockingbird that still resonates today. I'm thrilled that AMERICAN MASTERS is able to give viewers a sneak peek at Lee's new novel," said Michael Kantor, executive producer of American Masters.
Watch the first 2 minutes of tonight's 9p PBS broadcast of "Harper Lee: American Masters" about the discovery of "Go Set a Watchman" below!