A new biography has been released about famous author Harper Lee was released today titled “The Mockingbird Next Door: Life With Harper Lee” via The Penguin Press. However, Lee claims she had nothing to do with the biography.
The book was written by Marja Mills who met Lee in 2001. Mills then moved in to the house next door to Lee and her sister Alice in Monroeville, Ala.
Mill describes the experience of writing the book about her time with Lee and Alice,
“I wasn’t an unknown quantity but someone she (Harper Lee) knew and trusted […] I could not have done (the book) without the trust, support, and encouragement of Nelle (as Harper Lee is known) and Alice Lee and their closest friends.”
Although, Lee has always remained staunchly private about her personal life.
“Rest assured, as long as I am alive any book purporting to be with my cooperation is a falsehood.”
While Penguin Publishing is standing by the book release today, Lee is remaining that the biography is unauthorized. She released the following statement.
July 14, 2014
Normally, I would not respond to questions about books written on my life. 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 that Ms. Mills has a statement signed by my elderly sister claiming I cooperated with this book. My sister would have been 100 years old at the time.
I enclose a copy of my first statement about this book. After my stroke, I discovered Marja claimed I cooperated with this book. I released my first statement in April 2011. I also enclose Marja’s letter to my attorney at that time. Neither my attorney nor I have retracted my original statement. Rest assured, as long as I am alive any book purporting to be with my cooperation is a falsehood.