I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do. ~Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird, Chapter 11, spoken by the character Atticus Finch.
Harper Lees To Kill a Mockingbird with lawyer Atticus Finch as its hero is one of the most inspiring pieces of literature for many in the legal profession today. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the books publication last year, the University of Alabama School of Law and the ABA Journal created the annual Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction. Honoring Ms. Lee, a former Alabama Law student, the prize is given for a book-length fictional work that best exemplifies the role of lawyers in society, and their power to effect change. Last years inaugural prize was given to John Grisham for his book, The Confession.
According to the website, this years winning title will be chosen by the 2012 Harper Lee Prize Selection Committee, which includes New York Times bestselling novelist Linda Fairstein, former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, New York Times bestselling novelist Lisa Scottoline, NPR legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg, and FOX News political analyst Juan Williams.
Also, a separate public vote will occur. Once entries are selected, the public can participate in the vote via the ABA Journals website. The publics choice will count as one vote for the winner.
The 2012 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction winner will be announced in August. On September 20, 2012, a ceremony and panel discussion will be hosted by the Selection Committee at the National Press Club in Washington. The event will coincide with the Library of Congress National Book Festival.
Entries will be accepted through April 6, 2012. We will follow-up with a post once this years contenders are announced.