Five books that took decades to get published

By Rajini Vaidyanathan
BBC News, Washington

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image captionBooks lost in time, but are they worth the wait?

The sequel to Harper Lee's classic To Kill A Mockingbird is being published this July, more than half a century after it was written.

Lee's latest release Go Set A Watchman was initially rejected by her publishers and was only recently rediscovered.

It's not the only book by a famous author that has taken decades to get published.

Jack Kerouac - The Sea is My Brother

The Beat generation's leading light is most famous for his 1957 novel, On The Road, which poetically chronicled his travels across America. But for decades no-one knew about his first book.

Published in 2011, 40 years after his death, the book was based on his time as a merchant sailor in the 1940s.

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image captionAn early Kerouac manuscript

Kerouac transformed his journal of his life at sea into a 158-page manuscript, which was discovered by his brother-in-law years later. Reviews of the book were mixed. The Wall Street Journal described it as a "a bad book, but it's a fun bad book".

Arthur Conan Doyle - The Narrative of John Smith

It took nearly 130 years for this book to make it into print.

Arthur Conan Doyle was in his early 20s when he penned his debut novel about a man's musings as he suffers from gout.

It got lost in the post when he sent it to his publishers, but undeterred Conan Doyle wrote a number of chapters again from memory. These too never saw the light of day.

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image captionBenedict who? For many, Basil Rathbone was the favoured Holmes

A few years later he went on to write his first Sherlock Holmes book, A Study in Scarlet, and never looked back.

His first novel was finally published in 2011 by The British Library, which had the manuscript since 2007 as part of its Conan Doyle collection.

Reviews don't place this in the same league as the Sherlock books, but as The Telegraph explained, "this is a work in progress; a compendium of ideas, lacking narrative drive".

Jules Verne - Paris in the Twentieth Century

The French writer is best known for Around the World in 80 days, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and Journey to the Centre of the Earth. But one of his works, Paris in the Twentieth Century remained undiscovered for more than 130 years until it was finally published in 1994.

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image captionJules Verne's book was rejected by publishers

The book, which cast a prophetic look at Paris in the 1960s, predicting reliance on business, technology and the subway, was reportedly rejected by Verne's publishers at the time.

His great-grandson found the manuscript in a safe which had been passed down through the family. A review in the New York Times said the book was "atypical of Verne's output, it is still helpful in pointing up why he is and isn't read nowadays".

Doctor Seuss - Horton and the Kwuggerbug

It took 60 years for lost stories from quirky children's author Dr Seuss to surface. Horton and the Kwuggerbug and More Lost Stories, features four tales which originally appeared in a magazine in the 1950s.

image copyrightRandom House

The tales, which were republished last year, feature some of Dr Seuss' best known characters, including The Grinch and Horton.

Douglas Adams - Doctor Who's lost episode

Modern fans of the Time Lord may be unaware that Douglas Adams, of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy fame, penned a few episodes back in the 1970s.

Industrial action at the BBC meant the last episode of the 1980 season was never completed. The scripts were kept, and in Tardis-travelling fashion turned into a book in 2013, with the help of writer Gareth Roberts.

image captionDoctor Who once lost a story

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