Penguin Press says it is 'proud' to publish unauthorized Harper Lee memoir

By Daniel S Levine,

To Kill A Mockingbird author Harper Lee might not be pleased with Marja Mills’ new biography on the reclusive writer, but publisher Penguin Press is and the company is standing by Lee.

As previously reported, Mills claims that The Mockingbird Next Door: Life with Harper Lee was written with Lee’s knowledge and came about after she spent time with Lee and her sister Alice. The former Chicago Tribune journalist wrote that she had moved next door to the sisters in 2004 and they became friends.

However, Lee has blasted the book and unauthorized and claimed that the story behind it is false. Lee has been against the book since 2011, when Penguin first announced it and said that nothing has changed. “Rest assured, as long as I am alive any book purporting to be with my cooperation is a falsehood,” the 88-year-old Lee wrote.

Penguin later issued a statement to Entertainment Weekly, saying that it is “proud to publish” the book and praised Mills’ work.

“Mills’ memoir is a labor of love and Marja Mills has done an extraordinary job,” the publisher said. “We look forward to sharing her story of the wise and wonderful Lee sisters with readers.”

Penguin also gave EW a letter from Mills dated July 2011 and another from Alice Lee from May 2011 that back up Mills’ story.

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