It’s one of the most enduring literary rumors: did Truman Capote help his first cousin with the writing of TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD? And is that why she never wrote another novel? The answer, according to a letter Capote wrote to his aunt back in 1959, seems to be no — as Sue Scheble of the Boston Patriot Ledger reports (getting the story from the Huntsville, Alabama Times.)
“Yes, it is true that Nelle Lee is publishing a book,” Capote wrote in the letter’s final paragraphs, according to the newspaper. “I did not see Nelle last winter, but the previous year, she showed me as much of the book as she’d written, and I liked it very much. She has real talent.”
The story further reports that the letter became public after Jennings Carter, Capote’s cousin, gave it to the Monroe County Heritage Museums in Monroeville as a result of the release of the film CAPOTE, based on the events leading up to the publication of IN COLD BLOOD.