Harper Lee dead: What happened when a journalist tried to get the To Kill a Mockingbird author to talk

Lee spent her life as far away from the public eye as possible

Heather Saul
Friday 19 February 2016 18:38
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Harper Lee resolutely avoided speaking to the press and making public appearances, letting the success of her one, and for most of her life only, book speak for her.

This was not a stance she was willing to budge on, either. Her rare interactions with the media were limited to the odd anodyne comment and every request for an interview was declined.

The Daily Mail learned this lesson when one of their journalists approached Lee in her home town of Monroeville, Alabama, armed with a box of chocolates, in the hope they could finally get the reticent author to speak.

Sharon Churcher’s account of their very brief exchange is thus:

“Her friends agree to introduce me to her on one condition: that I make no mention of ‘The Book’, as people here refer to it.

“Nervously, I approach the novelist, carrying the best box of chocolates I could find in the small Alabama town of Monroeville, a Hershey’s selection costing a few dollars. I start to apologise that I hadn’t brought more but a beaming Nelle – as her friends and family call her – extends her hand.

“‘Thank you so much. You are most kind. We're just going to feed the ducks but call me the next time you are here. We have a lot of history here. You will enjoy it.’”

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