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Monday, September 10, 2007 1:13 pm
Harper Lee’s Stalker
Posted by: Keir Graff

In The Biographer’s Craft newsletter, Charles J. Shields, author of Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee (Holt), writes about how to write a biography when the subject won’t cooperate:

This led to a practice that became habitual. I was always polite and discreet, even when people questioned my integrity. “Why don’t you just leave Nelle alone?” they asked. I made it clear that I’m a gentleman interested in the life of an important American author. Although a few times I heard mean-spirited gossip that would have thrown shade on Lee’s character, I didn’t pursue it when, in my judgment, it was just that: nasty gossip. My standard of low-mindedness is Jerry Oppenheimer’s Just Desserts: The Unauthorized Biography of Martha Stewart. Oppenheimer describes, with dirty-minded glee, the night he believes Stewart lost her virginity. Frankly, who cares?

Extra timely because of To Kill a Mockingbird‘s audio win at the Quills and because of the L.A. Times article (blogged last week) about reclusive authors.


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