Afternoons with Harper Lee

by:  Wayne Flynt     

Releases: October 1, 2022

This new book offers an intimate window into the life and legacy of one of America’s best-loved writers

Imagine sitting with an esteemed writer on his or her front porch somewhere in the world and swapping life stories. Dr. Wayne Flynt got the opportunity to do just this with Nelle Harper Lee. In a friendship that blossomed over a dozen years starting when Lee relocated back to Alabama after having had a stroke, Flynt and his wife Dartie became regular visitors at the assisted living facility that was Lee’s new home. And there the conversation began. It began where it always begins with Southern storytellers, with an invitation to “Come in, sit down, and stay a while."

The stories exchanged ranged widely over the topics of Alabama history, Alabama folklore, family genealogy, and American literature, of course. On the way from beginning to end there were many detours: talks about Huntingdon College; The University of Alabama; New York City; the United Kingdom; Garden City, Kansas; and Mobile, Alabama, to name just a few. Wayne and his wife were often joined by Alice Lee, the oldest Lee sister, a living encyclopedia on the subject of family genealogy, and middle sister Louise Lee Conner.

The hours spent visiting, in intimate closeness, are still cherished by Wayne Flynt. They yielded revelations large and small, which have been shaped into
Afternoons with Harper Lee. Part memoir, part biography, this book offers a unique window into the life and mind and preoccupations of one of America’s best-loved writers. Flynt and Harper Lee and her sisters learned a great deal from each other, and though this is not a history book, their shared interest in Alabama and its history made this extraordinary work possible.


“Wayne Flynt is the great Talmudic scholar of Alabama, and this vivid, affecting deconstruction of his friendship with Harper a huge reward and pleasure for those of us who under- stand that, unaccountably, all roads seem to lead to our grand and terrifying state.”

— Diane McWhorter, author of Carry Me Home: Birmingham, Alabama—The Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution

Afternoons with Harper Lee is a celebration of friendship, litera- ture, and how place and history shape us all. It’s full of wisdom, love, and loss—heartbreaking and heart-healing in equal mea- sure. I so enjoyed this book!”

— Daniel Wallace, author of Big Fish

Part memoir, part biography, Afternoons with Harper Lee is histo- rian Wayne Flynt’s moving account of over a dozen years spent visiting with the enigmatic doyenne of twentieth century Amer- ican letters. From Alabama history and folklore to American lit-

erature to everything in between, Afternoons with Harper Lee of- fers a fascinating, personal glimpse into the mind that crafted one of our most iconic novels.

Pulitzer Prize-nominated author Wayne Flynt is professor emeritus in the history department at Auburn University. He is the author of fourteen books, and his numerous awards include the Rem- bert Patrick Award for Florida History, the Lillian Smith Prize for Nonfiction from the Southern Re- gional Council, the Alabama Library Association Award for nonfiction, the C. Vann Woodward/John Hope Franklin Prize by the Fellowship of Southern Writers, the F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum Award for Excellence in Writing, and the Alabama Governor's Award for the Arts.

Afternoons with Harper Lee

Afternoons with Harper Lee