Harper Lee: I Had Nothing to Do With Book About Me

'To Kill a Mockingbird' author refutes memoir author's claims
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 28, 2011 10:51 AM CDT
Pulitzer Prize winner and 'To Kill A Mockingbird' author Harper Lee smiles before receiving the 2007 Presidential Medal of Freedom in the East Room of the White House November 5, 2007 in Washington, DC.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Penguin just acquired a memoir that promises to bring you into the life of famously reclusive author Harper Lee, and even reveal why she never wrote another novel after To Kill a Mockingbird. Just one problem: Lee, who has not given a public interview in 45 years, says she had nothing to do with the book. The Mockingbird Next Door: Life With Harper Lee, by former Chicago Tribune reporter Marja Mills, claims to have been "written with direct access to Harper and Alice Lee and their friends and family," the New York Times reports.

But in a signed statement made through the law firm of her sister, Alice Lee, Lee says she has "not willingly participated in any book written or to be written by Marja Mills. Neither have I authorized such a book. Any claims otherwise are false.” Mills, supposedly friends with the Lees, previously wrote a long article on the author based on interviews with her sister and friends; her agent claims that in writing this memoir she had the written support of Alice Lee—as well as the verbal support of Harper Lee prior to her 2007 stroke.

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