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Unseen Harper Lee letters give intimate view of To Kill a Mockingbird author

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Set to be sold, correspondence shows her fond regard for friends including Gregory Peck and Vivien Leigh, and records her reaction to Barack Obama’s election

A suggestion made by American president Lyndon B Johnson to the actor Gregory Peck that the US would one day have a black, female president is among a number of illustrious anecdotes in letters written by the author Harper Lee that have come to light.

Thirty-eight letters, written between 2005 and 2010 by the To Kill a Mockingbird author to her friend Felice Itzkoff, are up for auction this week. Addressed affectionately to “Clipper”, Lee’s nickname for Itzkoff, the letters span Lee’s memories of her father, her apparent atheism and her friendship with Hollywood figures.

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