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To Kill A Mockingbird author Harper Lee calls bullshit on biography about her

Gregory Peck and Brock Peters in the 1962 film adaptation

Ultimate one-hit wonder Harper Lee released a statement this week further denying her cooperation with a newly released biography. Lee’s only book, the Pulitzer Prize-winning To Kill A Mockingbird, was published in 1960, with a film adaptation released two years later. Since then, the 88-year-old author has almost entirely avoided the press and has fiercely guarded her privacy, only agreeing this year for Mockingbird to be sold as an e-book. (It’s available in that format as of this week.)

In 2011, Penguin announced it would be publishing a Harper Lee biography penned by Chicago Tribune reporter Marja Mills, who had lived next door to Harper and her older sister, Alice, in Monroeville, Alabama. Mills claims the book was written “with direct access to Harper and Alice Lee [her sister] and their friends and family.” Lee denied that at the time, saying through her lawyers that she had neither authorized nor cooperated with any writers. In another statement released this week, Lee writes:

Miss Mills befriended my elderly sister, Alice. It did not take long to discover Marja’s true mission: another book about Harper Lee.  I was hurt, angry and saddened, but not surprised. I immediately cut off all contact with Miss Mills, leaving town whenever she headed this way.

I understand Miss Mills has a statement signed by my elderly sister claiming I cooperated with the book. My sister would have been 100 years old at the time.


Mills said it was “the honor of her life when they both gave me their blessing to write my book.” The Mockingbird Next Door: Life With Harper Lee hit bookstores yesterday.

[via Entertainment Weekly]

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