SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (4-27-11)
After winning the Pulitzer Prize for her 1960 debut novel, 'To Kill A Mockingbird’, Harper Lee talked excitedly of her plans to carry on writing and become “the Jane Austen of south Alabama”. Yet she was never published again for reasons unknown.
Fifty-one years after the book’s publication, one of the literary world’s greatest mysteries is about to be solved. The elusive Lee, who celebrates her 85th birthday on Thursday, has co-operated with a new biography that will reveal why she never wrote another novel.
'The Mockingbird Next Door’ is written by Marja Mills, a former Chicago Tribune reporter who has spent years researching her subject, and will be published by Penguin.
It will lay to rest the conspiracy theories surrounding Lee’s retreat from the public eye – including the suggestion that To Kill A Mockingbird was actually written by her best friend, fellow author Truman Capote.
Since the death of JD Salinger last year, Lee has claimed the title of America’s most famous literary recluse and lives quietly in her home town of Monroeville, Alabama. The description is not strictly accurate – the bespectacled author makes the occasional public appearance and accepted the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the White House in 2007 – but she has not granted an interview since 1964.....