How Unauthorized Is the New Book About Harper Lee?

Michelle Dean · 07/18/14 11:23AM

Everyone is curious about Harper Lee, the author of To Kill A Mockingbird. That's why a new book about her—The Mockingbird Next Door, by Marja Mills—is selling briskly. Lee has reportedly denounced the book as "unauthorized."

Happy Birthday

cityfile · 04/28/09 07:08AM

Penelope Cruz turns 35 today. Jay Leno is turning 59. Jessica Alba is 28. Former Secretary of State Jim Baker turns 79. Famed chef Alice Waters is 65. Author Harper Lee is 83. Actress Bridget Moynahan turns 38. Ann-Marget is turning 68. Wooster Group director Elizabeth LeCompte is 65. Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon is turning 56. Famed defense attorney Ted Wells is turning 59. Golfer John Daly is 43. And the rapper Too Short turns 43 today.

Choire · 11/05/07 05:05PM

"President Bush, right, smiles after presenting author Harper Lee, left, with the Presidential Medal of Freedom during a ceremony for the 2007 Recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Monday, Nov. 5, 2007, in the East Room at the White House in Washington (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)"

Emily Gould · 08/21/07 04:30PM

To Kill A Mockingbird author Harper Lee, who rarely makes public appearances, made one yesterday. Her quotable quote from the occasion: "Well it's better to be silent than to be a fool." [AP]

Gawker's Week in Review: It's All About Star

Jessica · 06/30/06 05:00PM

Star fucking Jones, what are we going to do with you? She's forced off The View, then does a surprise, on-air resignation, then tells People magazine that she was betrayed. Barbara Walters locks her out, and now we're subjected to an endless round of interviews featuring Jones passive-aggressively reflecting on the whole thing. And scene.
• Oh, you best believe Radar is alive and kicking and hiring. Lots of hiring.
Harper's Bazaar allows Britney Spears to take her clothes off; to make matters worse, the mag forces her nudie pics upon our innocent eyes.
LA Weekly scribe Nikki Finke is SO NOT INSANE.
• Stephen Colbert and Chris Matthews share their intensely physical manlove with the world.
• It's Devil Wears Prada madness; Anna Wintour will be played by Victoria Principal.
• The Bonnie Fuller backlash never goes out of style.
• Here's the thing with our boy Anderson Cooper: everyone loves him. And yet nobody watches him.
• Charlie Gibson leaves morning television, thus forcing us to watch Good Morning America.
• Another Fake Writer, this time at the Post. Which really isn't that surprising or interesting, come to think of it.
Harper Lee comes out of hiding, all for the love of Oprah. Really, there's nothing the woman can't do.

Harper Lee's Oprah Essay: Actually, Not So Terrible

Jesse · 06/27/06 04:48PM

It must be 15 years, at least, since we last read To Kill a Mockingbird. But it's a mere few weeks since we read Thomas Mallon's New Yorker review of the new Harper Lee biography, and from that review we learned that the admiring world had been wrong for all these years. Lee is, the review told us, in fact an atrocious writer. So when we learned this morning that Lee had published in her first piece of writing in several millennia, we were eager to get our hands on it. We wanted to see if, without the distraction of Gregory Peck's strong-chinned virtue, we'd finally see Lee's writing for the drivel it is. We went to the corner newsstand and we sucked it up and for the first time ever, we bought O, The Oprah Magazine. And we discovered that Lee's piece (click on it above to enlarge), while as tritely uplifting as an open letter to Winfrey would have to be, is also a perfectly fine, reasonably well-turned essay. We found this a tremendous relief.

But Will Harper Lee Help Oprah Hunt Down Child Predators?

Jessica · 06/27/06 12:31PM

80-year-old Harper Lee hasn't given an interview in 40 years and, with the exception of a 1983 book review, she hasn't published anything in the same stretch of decades — but if there's anyone to pull the woman out of hiding, it's motherfucking Oprah. (OMG OPRAH SHE'S JUST THAT GOOD WE LOVE YOU.) For O mag's July "special summer reading" issue, Lee has written a piece, in letter form, about becoming a reader in Depression-era Alabama, when her parents and older siblings would read her stories and newspaper items every day. She writes, "Now, 75 years later in an abundant society where people have laptops, cell phones, iPods, and minds like empty rooms, I still plod along with books."