|Kathryn Stockett burst onto the literary scene in 2009 with her debut novel, THE HELP, about a group of black maids working in Mississippi on the cusp of the Civil Rights era. While the book has stirred some controversy, it has spent months at a time on various best-seller lists, sometimes in the number-one spot.||Stockett was born in Jackson, Mississippi in 1969. Her father was a successful local businessman. She fondly remembers her family's housekeeper, Demetrie. She has said, "[A]s much as we loved Demetrie, she had a separate bathroom located on the outside of the house. I never once sat down to eat with her at the table. . . . I am ashamed to admit that it took me 20 years to realize the irony of that relationship."||After graduating from the University of Alabama, Stockett moved to New York City, where she held various jobs in marketing and magazine publishing. It took her five years to complete the manuscript for THE HELP, which was rejected by more than 50 agents and publishers before finally being accepted.||Although some critics expressed concern that Stockett was ill suited to write from the point of view of her black characters, readers found those characters compelling and their dialogue convincing; the book sold more than a million copies in its first year of release alone. It was adapted for the big screen in 2011 by filmmaker Tate Taylor, a childhood friend of Stockett's, and garnered several Academy Award nominations, including one for best picture. (Octavia Spencer took home an Oscar as best supporting actress for her role as the maid Minny.)||Responding to her critics, Stockett told an interviewer, "On the one hand I [do] wonder, was this really my story to tell? On the other hand, I just wanted the story to be told."