Victor Methos Wins 2020 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction

Victor Methos, author of The Hallows,” will receive The University of Alabama School of Law’s 2020 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction during a virtual ceremony.

“On the 10th anniversary of the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction, I am grateful to the selection committee for choosing a novel that clearly illustrates the role of lawyers and their power to effect change in society,” said Dr. Mark E. Brandon, dean of UA’s School of Law. “In ‘The Hallows,’ the committee found a well-written legal thriller that is truly worthy of this honor.”

Publicity photo of Victor Methos

Victor Methos

Methos said he is thrilled to win the award.

“It is such a privilege to receive this award,” Methos said. “Every criminal lawyer will tell you the same thing: Atticus Finch was our earliest inspiration. I first read ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ when I was 13, and to this day, when the injustices of our legal system discourage me, it is that book I turn to for inspiritment. To think the committee saw something of it in my own work humbles me, and I will always be grateful.”

Ten years ago, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the publication of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” and to honor the former UA law student and author, the UA School of Law created the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction. A distinguished panel of authors and scholars selected the 2020 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction. The panel includes:

  • A’Lelia Bundles, author and journalist
  • Dr. James A. Crank, UA associate professor of English specializing in American literature and culture
  • Jesse Holland, journalist, author and distinguished visiting scholar at the Kluge Center in the Library of Congress
  • David Mao, associate vice president and chief operating officer for Georgetown University Law Center
  • C.E. Tobisman, attorney and winner of the 2018 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction
Cover of "The Hallows"

“The Hallows” tells the story of attorney Tatum Graham.

The committee praised “The Hallows” for being a taut legal thriller with entertaining courtroom scenes. The book tells the story of Tatum Graham, a Miami defense attorney who re-examines his life after a guilty client walks free. Graham moves back home for a simpler life, but he soon joins the county attorney’s office as a prosecutor, where he redeems himself for past wrongs.

“In this tightly focused and masterful thriller, we watch Tatum Graham come to terms with the profound personal failures associated with his professional successes,” Crank said. “His redemption comes in the form of a dogged pursuit of justice, even though it means waging war on the very people and institutions that created him. In ‘The Hallows,’ Victor Methos channels the very best of Harper Lee’s prose.”

Tobisman agreed.

“Written with panache and humor, this book features deep, believable character relationships and a satisfying David versus Goliath courtroom battle,” Tobisman said.

Methos will be honored with a signed special edition of “To Kill a Mockingbird.” The 2020 prize will be awarded virtually as part of the Library of Congress’s National Book Festival. After the award is presented, the selection committee will discuss “The Hallows” in relation to Lee’s work.