Harper Lee Tells Alabama Reporter To "Go Away!" And You Can't Get Any Clearer Than That

If Harper Lee is known for anything, it's probably for her pithy prose. But the genius author of To Kill A Mockingbird has another, equally formidable reputation for being a staunch recluse. She hasn't changed. This week AL.com reporter Connor Shields wrote a letter requesting an interview — Lee replied "Go Away! Harper Lee."

Shields says he wrote the letter to find out if Lee was competent to choose to publish her upcoming book, Go Set a Watchman. There has been much debate on the issue since HarperCollins announced they would publish this Mockingbird sequel in July 2015. The 88-year-old author is not in the best of health, and had said many times in the past she would never publish another book. Lee's friends and fans worried that she had been pressured to release Watchman by her agent or publisher.

Shields wrote Lee with hopes of investigating the charges. The reply he received wasn't quite what he expected:

"On Wednesday, I received an envelope without a return address, made out to "Conner Sheets." I opened it without fanfare, only to find my letter, wrinkled and refolded, with four words and one punctuation mark scrawled in cursive Sharpie at the bottom: 'Go Away! Harper Lee.'

"It appears that Nelle, as her friends call her, is very much with it, that she is still lucid and that her acerbic, press-averse side is fully intact."

Mr. Sheets got his answer — he can just go set on it.