So while everyone is off to get and read their copies of Harper Lee’s new book Go Set a Watch, the ABA has announced The Secret of Magic by Deborah Johnson as this year’s winner of the fifth annual Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction. The prize is intended for the best novel-length work of fiction published that year to illuminate the role of lawyers in society and their power to effect change. It is sponsored by the ABA Journal and the University of Alabama School of Law.
The Secret of Magic is about Regina Robichard, an African-American attorney working for the Legal Defense Fund with Thurgood Marshall in the 1940s, who travels to Mississippi to investigate the circumstances around the death of Joe Howard Wilson, a young black World War II veteran.
Johnson is the first woman and the first African-American to be awarded the prize (which, not gonna lie, makes me really happy.) According to the ABA announcement, she is thrilled to receive the prize, which will be presented to her in a ceremony Sept. 3, coinciding with the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C (and afted the ceremony, there will be a panel discussion about The Secret of Magic, and how it relates to To Kill a Mockingbird.)