To Kill a Mockingbird may be on most elementary school students' summer reading lists, but booksellers around the country are hoping to get the classic novel on adults' summer reading radar, too--and Mockingbird's 50th anniversary on July 11 is giving them just the hook they need.
Although Mockingbird publisher HarperCollins officially kicked off the celebration at BEA, the majority of the tie-in events are taking place in July and August. At least 40 bookstores from Alabama to Wisconsin are throwing parties in honor of the occasion. Many of the events will take place on July 11, including parties and readings that day at Bookcase of Wayzata in Wayzata, Minn.; Book People in Austin, Tex.; Garden District Bookshop in New Orleans; Northshire Books in Manchester Center, Vt.; Page and Palette in Fairhope, Ala.; Quail Ridge Books and Music in Raleigh, N.C.; The Tattered Cover in Denver; and Warwick's in Ja Jolla, Calif. The Hammes Bookstore at Notre Dame University in South Bend, Ind., is holding an art contest for drawings, paintings, and photographs inspired by Mockingbird, and Bookshop Santa Cruz in Santa Cruz., Calif., is having an event on July 20 that will feature a judge and attorney talking about the book, as well as courtroom reenactments. Many other events include screenings of the 1962 film version of Mockingbird starring Gregory Peck.
Harper, which has numerous editions of the book, including a 50th anniversary $25 slipcased hardcover, has created a site where readers can learn about the novel, find information on events around the country, and enter a sweepstakes to win a copy of the 50th anniversary edition, a copy of the deluxe trade paperback edition, a DVD of the movie, and a copy of Scout, Atticus, and Boo: A Celebration of 50 Years of To Kill a Mockingbird by Mary Murphy, just out from Harper. (Novelist Wally Lamb wrote the foreword to Murphy's book and is participating in many of the anniversary events.) The publisher has created badges to commemorate the anniversary as well as an official Facebook fan page.
Harper Lee, who is now 84 and famously reclusive, is not involved in any of the anniversary events.