Lee is a woman of few words and generally avoids media interviews and public appearances.
But the author of "To Kill a Mockingbird" broke her silence briefly Monday at a ceremony inducting four new members, including former home-run king Hank Aaron, into the Alabama Academy of Honor. Lee, who lives in Monroeville, is a member of the academy, which honors living Alabamians, and was in the audience for Monday's ceremony.
At the end of the ceremony, Academy of Honor chairman Tom Carruthers joked with Lee, saying he knew she had something she wanted to say to the crowd.
"Well it's better to be silent than to be a fool," Lee said.
The audience burst into laughter and gave Lee a standing ovation.