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Dear Harper Lee: A Note of Thanks

A heartfelt tribute

Editor’s note: On Feb. 19, 2016, Harper Lee, author of the incomparable “To Kill a Mockingbird,” died. In the days following, we struggled to find the right words to express our thoughts on Lee’s contribution, until we read this heartfelt letter from one of our writer pals, Cathy Higgins. Cathy has graciously allowed us to repost it here. You can read the original on Cathy’s blog, See Cathy Write.


Dear Harper Lee,

In light of your recent passing, I thought this would be a good time to posthumously express my appreciation to you for both your literary contribution and for being an example of quiet dignity.

I am so grateful that you took the time to craft “To Kill a Mockingbird.” I first read your wonderful novel as a youth. The complexity and simplicity blended with humor to tell a tale that was ahead of its time and still profoundly resonates today. The writing sparked my imagination and roused a sense of justice that remains compelling.

Being a lifelong Southerner, I recognize that creating such a book was brilliant. It was also quite brave. I marvel at your insight and fortitude to see this project through in such a time and environment. And I thank you for it.

I also admire your humility in the face of such staggering success of this amazing work. The same is true in your response to those who reacted with envy of your success. You were graceful and genteel. An example for us all.

You will be missed. But your legacy will live on.

—Cathy Higgins

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Cathy Higgins

writer and journalist at See Cathy Write
Cathy has 15 years of well-rounded experience in journalism, including writing, designing pages and editing news and features for newspapers in Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee. You can read more from Cathy at her blog,

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March 18, 2016
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