Harper Lee, beloved author of To Kill a Mockingbird, dies at 89

Harper Lee, who has died aged 89, was the author of To Kill a Mockingbird. Her story of race relations and legal injustice set in the American south in the 1930s, first published in 1960, won the Pulitzer prize for fiction in 1961, was made into an Oscar-winning film in 1962 and went on to sell more than 40m copies worldwide. It has never been out of print and is perhaps the most widely loved American novel of the past half-century. The book was seen by many as saying something good, something important about America itself.

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It took me two hours to get my hands on an AK-47 -- welcome to America

It’s not hard to get your hands on illegal guns and rifles in America. It took me about two hours. I called a guy from the old neighborhood in LA, said something about a “piece”, and, hours later, I was staring at an AK-47 and an illegally modified AR-15, which were sitting on a kitchen table. Welcome to America.

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Happy Holidays!