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Author Michael Connelly Wins 2012 Harper Lee Prize

Author Michael Connelly has won the 2012 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction for his work, The Fifth Witness.

The annual Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction is given to a book-length fictional work that “best exemplifies the role of lawyers in society, and their power to effect change.”  The University of Alabama School of Law and the ABA Journal sponsor the prize.

A Selection Committee, which included 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, helped select the winner along with a vote cast by public poll via the ABA Journal’s website.

The Fifth Witness is a legal thriller which features Connelly’s recurring book character, lawyer Mickey Haller.  Haller represents a woman accused of killing a banker after her home was threatened with foreclosure.  The book, which debuted at No. 1 on the New York Times Best Seller list, was selected among two other finalists, Robert Dugoni, author of Murder One and David Ellis, author of Breach of Trust.

Connelly will be honored at an award ceremony hosted by the Selection Committee on September 20, 2012 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.  David Mao, Law Librarian of Congress, will speak at the event.  Following the award presentation, Ron Charles, fiction editor of The Washington Post, will lead a panel discussion of The Fifth Witness as it relates to Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird.  Guest panelists will include Selection Committee members, Linda Fairstein, Lisa Scottoline, Nina Totenberg and Juan Williams.

The Harper Lee Prize award ceremony will take place in conjunction with the 2012 Library of Congress National Book Festival scheduled for September 22 and 23 on the National Mall.  We hope to see you there.

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