Stockett is an American novelist who was born in 1969 in
Mississippi. She was raised in large part by an African American maid,
Demetrie. This experience would greatly inform her debut novel.
Stockett earned a degree in English and Creative Writing at the
University of Alabama. After working in publishing in New York, she
published her first novel, The Help, in 2009.
Stockett’s novel is about the lives of the African American maids who
worked in white households in the 1960s. The Help, which was turned into
a film in 2011, was a New York Times best seller, despite having been
rejected by 60 literary agents. While the novel draws on Stockett’s own
experiences in the American South, it is a fictional work.
In 2011, Stockett was sued by Abilene Cooper, who had worked as a maid
for Stockett’s brother. Cooper claimed that The Help had used her
likeness, though Stockett maintained that the characters in the novel
were entirely fictional. A judge threw out the case, citing the statute
Stockett has said that The Help was her way of examining her own
relationship with the housekeeper who had helped raise her. She has also
used it as a way of examining the social and political circumstances of
the 1960s civil rights movements.
Stockett currently lives in Atlanta.