Author Refutes Harper Lee's Repudiation of Her Book

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The author of an upcoming book about To Kill a Mockingbird author Harper Lee has contradicted her subject, claiming Lee had cooperated with her. Yesterday, Lee released a statement repudiating the book by Marja Mills, a Chicago Tribune reporter. In a rare public statement—Lee hasn't given an interview in 45 years, although there have been numerous attempts by reporters to get her to speak—the novelist said that she had not cooperated with the project: "Contrary to recent news reports, I have 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."

Today, Penguin, which is publishing Mills's book titled The Mockingbird Next Door: Life With Harper Lee, responded with the statement of its own:

Harper Lee, known as Nelle to many of her friends, and her sister, Alice Lee, were wonderfully generous with their time and insights over the years as I researched my book. Alice Lee signed this statement affirming she and her sister, Nelle Harper Lee, cooperated with the project.

Mills's literary agent also claims that the memoir had "verbal support" from Harper Lee in 2007, before the author suffered a stroke.

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