Discussing “Harper Lee: American Masters” and “Go Set a Watchman” with Filmmaker Mary Murphy

July 09, 2015 at 9:00 am

In the New York metro area, PBS flagship station THIRTEEN, which produces the American Masters series, will celebrate the release of Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman with THIRTEEN Days of Harper Lee, a 13-day, multi-platform event on-air, online and in the community from Sunday, July 5 – Friday, July 17.

One of the most influential American novels of the 20th century and biggest bestsellers of all time, To Kill a Mockingbird was believed to be the first and only novel by Nelle Harper Lee, until now.

On July 14, Lee’s earliest known work, Go Set a Watchman, will be available in print. The highly anticipated second book will feature characters from To Kill a Mockingbird, which was published 55 years ago (July 11, 1960).

In honor of this landmark literary event, THIRTEEN’s American Masters series presents a newly updated version of Emmy-winning filmmaker Mary McDonagh Murphy’s 2012 documentary Harper Lee: Hey, Boo, broadcast as Harper Lee: American Masters on Friday, July 10, 9 – 10:30 p.m. on PBS (check local listings).

Mary Murphy joined MetroFocus anchor Jack Ford to discuss Go Set a Watchman, the controversy and questions around its sudden discovery, and the story behind her decision to make a documentary about Harper Lee and To Kill a Mockingbird.

“My second reading of the novel blew me away in a way that made me wonder if I’d ever read it before. I started investigating and I started looking into everything I could find out about the novelist, about the novel, about the context in which the novel appeared,” said Murphy.

Watch the extended interview below.