Law in Popular Culture

Harper Lee Stopped Writing Due to Pressure and Publicity, Friend Says


Why did Harper Lee stop writing after her first, highly celebrated attempt? Because she said what she wanted to in To Kill A Mockingbird, the Birmingham News reports, and she didn’t want to go through all the pressure and publicity again.

The insight came from Rev. Thomas Lane Butts, a friend of Lee’s. He told Australia’s Sunday Telegraph that she disclosed her reasoning to him one evening while the two shared a bottle of scotch. Butts said he guessed his friend, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author who has an ABA Award named in her honor, stopped writing because she didn’t want to compete with herself.

“She said ‘Bull,’ ” Butts told the Telegraph, and claims that Lee told him she had “two reasons: One, I wouldn’t go through the pressure and publicity I went through with To Kill A Mockingbird for any amount of money. Second, I have said what I wanted to say and I will not say it again.’ ”

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