To Kill a Mockingbird author Harper Lee remains a subject of literary fascination on a par with J.D. Salinger, in part because (like the Catcher in the Rye author) she hasn’t published anything in more than 40 years (not since her one celebrated book in 1960), and in part because she almost never makes public appearances and never grants interviews. Interest in her has only risen in the last year, thanks to Catherine Keener’s vivid portrayal of her in Capote (and the anticipation of Sandra Bullock’s portrayal in another Truman Capote biopic, the upcoming Infamous).
But in an article in today’s New York Times, she not only allows herself to be photographed, but she actually says a few words to the press. She would talk only about the occasion (an annual essay contest for Alabaman high school students on the topic of Mockingbird); her standard reply to queries about Capote is ”hell no.” Still, we’ll take what we can get.