John Grisham (GRIHSH-uhm), a so-called blockbuster novelist and himself a lawyer, writes fast-paced thrillers based in the legal profession. Most of his works have become enormously successful commercially, both as long-term best-sellers and as popular films.
Grisham was born in the South, where, because his father worked for a construction company, the family moved frequently to locations in Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana. His family, he has said, was made up of readers and storytellers, and he attributes his writing ability to both those qualities.
After earning a degree in accounting at Mississippi State University, Grisham attended the University of Mississippi School of Law and received his law degree in 1981. He practiced law in Southaven, Mississippi, just south of Memphis, Tennessee, for the next ten years. From 1984 to 1990 he also served in the Mississippi House of Representatives.
Grisham’s legal career was successful if unspectacular, but he became increasingly cynical about the profession and, finding that he was more interested in literature than in legal cases, decided to write a novel. He wrote A Time to Kill in longhand over a period of three years by rising every morning at 5 a.m. The book was by no means an instant success (it originally sold only about five thousand copies), but Grisham believes that it may be his best book. The plot, which concerns the efforts of...
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