TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — “To Kill a Mockingbird” author Harper Lee missed her induction as an inaugural member of the Alabama Writers Hall of Fame on Monday just weeks before the release of her second book.

Organizers said the 89-year-old Lee couldn’t attend the event, held on the University of Alabama campus.

There was no other explanation for Lee’s absence, but she only rarely makes public appearances.

The author is in declining health and lives in an assisted-living home 150 miles away in the south Alabama town of Monroeville.

“We are so sorry she couldn’t make it,” said Jeanie Thompson, executive director of the Alabama Writer’s Forum, a sponsor of the event.

Lee and 11 other Alabama writers were honored as the hall’s first class. Relatives and friends filled two banquet tables set aside for Lee’s party, but organizers said members of the writer’s family declined to speak to reporters.

Lee’s second book, “Go Set a Watchman,” is being released in July.

It was written before the Pulitzer Prize-winning “Mockingbird” but takes place 20 years later.

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