Harper Lee reportedly dead at 89

Nelle Harper Lee, the beloved Alabama author who won the 1961 Pulitzer Prize for fiction for “To Kill a Mockingbird,” has died at the age of 89, multiple sources in her hometown of Monroeville confirmed Friday morning.03-harper-lee-2.w750.h560.2x

The news was first reported on http://www.al.com, the Alabama website for several newspapers in the state, including Birmingham, Huntsville and Mobile.

Lee was born April 28, 1926, in Monroeville, the youngest of four children of lawyer Amasa Coleman Lee and Frances Cunningham Finch Lee.

» Photos: The life of Harper Lee

“To Kill a Mockingbird” focused on racial tensions in the South, involving the trial of a black man accused of molesting a white woman. The black man was defended by Atticus Finch, whose daughter and son were named Scout and Jem. Much of the book was believed to be autobiographical in nature.

It was adapted into a movie starring Gregory Peck as Finch, and went on to critical acclaim.

Lee’s health was recently the subject of much speculation after she agreed to the publication of “Go Set a Watchman,” a sequel to “Mockingbird” that was found in a vault and recast the original heroic lawyer, Atticus Finch, as possibly a racist.

Lee had a stroke in 2007 and recently moved into an assisted living facility after her older sister, Alice, died.


A&M celebrating Shakespeare, too



Texas A&M is hosting an exhibit featuring Shakespeare’s First Folio from March 8 to April 3. “First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare” is part of a national exhibit, sponsored by the Folger Shakespeare Library, in partnership with Cincinnati Museum Center and the American Library Association.

The exhibit will be part of a series of events, including lectures and workshops and theatrical events.

The events coincide with the celebration of 400 years of Shakespeare.

The University of Texas is holding quite a large exhibit and celebration of Shakespeare as well. For details on the Austin exhibit, read Jeanne Claire van Ryzin’s story here.


Ransom Center gets grant to digitize archive

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 PHOTO BY: Ulf Andersen/Gamma Liaison. © 1997 Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.

The Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas has received a $126,730 grant to digitize more than 24,000 pages from the Gabriel García Márquez archive.

The grant came from the Council on Library and Information Resources, the Ransom Center said Monday, with funding by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Beginning in June 2016, the 18-month project, titled “Sharing ‘Gabo’ with the World: Building the Gabriel García Márquez Online Archive from His Papers at the Harry Ransom Center,” will involve scanning manuscripts, notebooks, scrapbooks, photographs and ephemera from the archive and making them accessible online. The materials date from 1950 through 2013.

“This project is notable for many reasons, including providing online access to copyright-protected archival material by one of the most revered literary figures of our time,” said Stephen Enniss, director of the center. “There are few opportunities for researchers to access digitized archives of contemporary authors. This initiative is possible due to the enthusiastic support and endorsement of García Márquez’s family.”

The archive opened for research on Oct. 21.

Cheating death and starting bar tabs in Cuba: Happy birthday, Ernest Hemingway

On July 21, 1899, Ernest Hemingway roared into the world, probably riding a bull and double-fisting daquiris. (Or perhaps just via the normal ol’ human birth way.) The literary giant, author of classics like “The Sun Also Rises” and “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” was born in Oak Park, Ill., but his legacy spans the Italian front of World War I; the coasts of Key West, Fla., and Cuba; the cafes of Paris; and most bookshelves.

(AP Photo/File)
(AP Photo/File)

In honor of Hemingway, who died in 1961, here are six reads about the he-man writer.

1) From Austrian mortar shells to wrangling a shark to hunting German subs from his fishing boat, the author of “A Farewell To Arms” cheated death many times. Time details five notable brushes with the Grim Reaper.

2) You might have heard Monday that the U.S. and Cuba reopened their embassies this week after decades of rancor. One connection between the two countries that has persisted despite the diplomatic tension: Hemingway, who “lived in Cuba on and off for years and worked on some of his most famous books” there, according to the Associated Press. The author is celebrated at many Cuban tourist attractions in the island nation, including his former estate at Finca Vigia.

3) Want to tour all of Hemingway’s favorite bars in Cuba? Apparently, they haven’t changed much.

4) Though he often used few of them, no one knew his way around a punchy word like Hemingway. Read some of the memorable quotes often attributed to the writer, like this one: “Always do sober what you said you’d do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.”

5) Of course, any literary history buff (or anyone who has Redboxed “Midnight In Paris”) knows that Hemingway hung around contemporary legends of the written word, like F. Scott Fitzgerald and James Joyce. And man, were there some stories to tell.

6) With the reissue of Hemingway’s “Green Hills of Africa” comes a Daily Beast piece asking “What are we supposed to do with Hemingway?” The famously adventurous author, often the subject of controversy, will probably posthumously invite it with this new edition’s release. “Some readers, of course, will have no interest whatsoever in ‘Green Hills’ simply because it is, in many respects, a book that appears to glorify killing,” the Daily Beast’s Ben Cosgrove writes.