It's always a big deal when Harper Lee comes out of seclusion to make a statement.

Here's the deal: author Marja Mills has written a memoir, The Mockingbird Next Door: Life With Harper Lee. The Penguin press release says, "The story of Mills's friendship with the two women recounts all the Lee sisters have to say about their life in Alabama, their upbringing, how ‘To Kill a Mockingbird' impacted their lives, and why Harper Lee chose to never write another novel." And Mills' agent said, in an interview earlier this week, that said memoir "has the written support of Alice Lee and a lifelong family friend, and prior to Harper Lee's stroke in 2007, she had the verbal support of Harper Lee."

Well, stroke or not, Lee's denying that support now: the 85-year-old has taken the step of declaring (via her sister's law firm) that,

Contrary to recent news reports, I have not willingly participated in any book written or to be written by Marja Mills. Neither have I authorized such a book. Any claims otherwise are false.

Which kind of settles that. No word on how this will effect the book's marketing — or title, for that matter. And it really makes me wonder how she felt about all the recent cinematic portrayal — particularly Sandra Bullock's.

‘To Kill A Mockingbird' Author Repudiates Journalist's Memoir About Her [NY Times]