In wholly unpleasant news that, on the bright side, has returned Harper Lee to public life, the beloved author of To Kill A Mockingbird and only a further handful of essays is suing her agent in a bid to regain copyright over her sole novel. 87 year old Lee claims that one Samuel Pinkus –
president of the Pinkus plumbing company literary agent and son-in-law of Eugene Winick, formerly Lee’s agent of many years – took advantage of her declining health to trick her into signing over the rights to the bestselling, Pulitzer Prize-winning book.
The suit alleges that, in the years following Winick’s own bout of illness in 2002, Pinkus began to siphon off some of his father-in-law’s clients for himself. In 2007, he apparently used Lee’s failing eyesight, her hearing loss and her having just suffered a stroke against her in order to have her sign a document that relinquished all rights over the book to him, with no payment subsequently due Lee as a result.On top of all that, at the time of signing, the then-81 year old Lee had already moved to the assisted-living facility where she lives to this day, and now has no memory of transferring the rights to Pinkus or, indeed, agreeing to any of this, suggesting that the suit will be as much a referendum on whether or not Pinkus is in fact history’s greatest monster as much as anything else. In case you’re willing to give Pinkus the benefit of the doubt and are sure that he must have thought Lee a worthy adversary in this game of wits, no, Lee’s lawyer Gloria Phares says ‘Pinkus knew that Harper Lee was an elderly woman with physical infirmities that made it difficult for her to read and see,’ so if found guilty, he’s pretty much just a massive douche.
He was chief hack and music editor of webzine Brazen from 2006 to 2010, and hosted Left of the Dial on Subcity Radio from 2008 to 2011.
He can be heard semi-regularly on the podcast of Scottish cultural blog Scots Whay Hae ('20th best website in Scotland!' - The List), and in 2011 founded Seen Your Video, a film and music podcast and blog based in Glasgow. He has a Masters degree in Scottish Literature from the University of Glasgow that will never have any practical application. You are on a hiding to nothing if you follow him on Twitter expecting any kind of hot publishing scoop.