Harper Lee Estate Endorses To Kill a Mockingbird Graphic NovelLiterature | June 13, 2017, Tuesday @ 15:47| 191 views
Illustration by Fred Fordham from the graphic novel, Photo: William Heinemann
To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee’s classic story of racism in the southern states of the US, which has sold more than 40m copies since it was first published in 1960, is to be turned into a graphic novel. Unexpectedly, the move has been encouraged by the late author’s estate, The Guardian reports.
The graphic novel will be illustrated by Fred Fordham, the artist behind Philip Pullman’s recent first venture into the form, The Adventures of John Blake: Mystery of the Ghost Ship. The London-born artist said: “Adapting a story that means so much to so many – and finding the appropriate art style to give it life in a long-form visual medium – is a great honour and responsibility, and, mercifully, also a great pleasure.”
The book is still at storyboard stage, publisher Jason Arthur of William Heinemann said, adding: “The art I’ve seen so far from Fred is stunning and his adaptation storyboard is utterly true to the original novel.”
The Lee estate approached the publisher with the idea of a graphic novel. It is just the latest in a series of projects using Lee’s groundbreaking book since her death in February 2016. In December, it was announced that the reclusive author’s home town Monroeville planned to create and build a group of tourist attractions based on the book, which are due to open this year. A coalition of local businesses – led by the late author’s lawyer Tonja Carter – was behind the plans, which included creating a dedicated museum in the courthouse in which Lee’s father, the model for the character Atticus Finch, kept an office. There are also plans to build replicas of three of the houses featured in the novel.
Whether Lee would have approved of the way that her book is being used since her death is moot. In 2015, the world was shocked when a “prequel” to Mockingbird, Go Set a Watchman, was revealed and endorsed by the notoriously private author, who had insisted through most of her life that she would never publish another novel. The manuscript was reportedly discovered in her safe deposit box in still-unclear circumstances.
But whether Lee herself would have wanted adaptations and tourist attractions based on her book is uncertain. In 1993, she wrote to a friend that she strongly objected to the evolution of “a new holiday sport in Monroeville … That of people bringing their visiting relatives to look at me.”
The graphic novel will be published in November 2018.