Harper Lee, author of one truly great novel, momentarily put aside her penchant for privacy and spoke briefly with a reporter.
To Kill A Mockingbird remains the only book Lee has ever written. I wonder if I wrote a book as perfect as that, if I'd be satisfied to never write another word.
Among the many reasons I love Mockingbird is its great accessibility. As a writer and appreciator of young-adult fiction, I've always thought the best young-adult books were not specifically written for young people. They are just great books that are also straightforward and engaging enough for a young reader. I can name dozens of books that fit the bill, but Mockingbird would be my first example.
To Kill A Mockingbird is also one of my favourite movies. To my mind it's one of a very few films to do a great novel justice. Horton Foote, who wrote the screenplay, is also an excellent writer, and as prolific as Lee is reclusive.
A six-degrees-of-separation note: Horton Foote's son, Horton Jr., owns one of my favourite spots in New York, Tavern on Jane. You can usually find him behind the bar, serving drinks, chatting with the regulars, and welcoming all.
Here's Harper Lee at the annual essay contest that pays tribute to her work.