Most authors struggle to follow up a popular debut. Some, like To Kill a Mockingbird writer Harper Lee, don’t bother. The author of one of the most acclaimed American novels in history has spent 51 years stubbornly refusing to release any new work, and not even offering interviews to explain her reluctance.
But now a friend has revealed the reason for Lee’s decision to hold back. Speaking to an Australian journalist, the Rev Thomas Lane Butts said that Lee once told him that she wouldn’t want to go through all the publicity, and also that she had said what she wanted to say in To Kill a Mockingbird and didn’t want to say it again.
Harper Lee is now in her mid-80’s and reportedly has numerous health problems. She apparently lives in an assisted-living facility in Monroeville, Alabma. She is said to be struggling with her hearing. However, it was recently revealed that she has agreed to speak to a biographer, Marja Mills, so perhaps we’ll eventually get a fuller explanation of her withdrawal from the limelight.