Biography (Cyclopedia of World Authors, Fourth Revised Edition)
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...
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Biography (Critical Survey of Long Fiction, Fourth Edition)
John Ray Grisham, Jr., the second of five children, was born in Jonesboro, Arkansas, and raised in the South. His father was a construction worker, and the family moved frequently during Grisham’s childhood. He lived in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi while he was growing up. Whenever his family moved to a new town, his mother saw that the children received library cards as soon as possible, because, as Grisham has stated, his mother encouraged reading over watching television. He attended high school in Southaven, Mississippi, a small town outside Memphis. He has said that his writing ability grew out of his involvement in a family of readers and storytellers.
Grisham wanted to play professional baseball, and he spent his early college years largely ignoring his studies and concentrating on sports. When he determined that a baseball career was not likely to happen, he turned to accounting as a major, graduating from Mississippi State University in 1977 with a bachelor’s degree. He attended law school at the University of Mississippi, where he received his law degree in 1981. That year he married Renee Jones, with whom he would have two children. They would reside in Charlottesville, Virginia, for half of the year and in Oxford, Mississippi, for the other half. Grisham has said that he writes six months of the year and coaches his son’s Little League baseball team the other six months.
From 1981 to 1991, Grisham practiced law in...
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Biography (Critical Survey of Mystery & Detective Fiction, Revised Edition)
John Grisham was born in Jonesboro, Arkansas, on February 8, 1955, the son of an itinerant construction worker and a homemaker. The family moved often, finally settling in Southaven, Mississippi, when Grisham was twelve. After moving to each town, Grisham would obtain a public library card and rate the condition of the town’s Little League field. He dreamed of becoming a professional baseball player, becoming so focused on athletics that he neglected his grades in English. His love of baseball would continue through college. He enrolled at Northwest Junior College in Sanitobia, Mississippi, then transferred to Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi, where he continued to play baseball. When he realized that he was not destined for the major leagues, he transferred to Mississippi State.
At Mississippi State, Grisham majored in accounting with the intention of becoming a tax attorney. However, after his first tax-law class at the University of Mississippi, he decided that criminal law provided more interest and drama. After graduation in 1981, he returned to Southaven, opening up his own practice and marrying Renee Jones, a childhood friend. He ran a successful practice but felt unfulfilled. A change to practicing civil law brought no more personal satisfaction. Grisham won one of the largest settlements in DeSoto County history on behalf of a child who sustained extensive burns when a water heater exploded. An idealist, he pursued a political...
(The entire section is 606 words.)
Biography (Literary Newsmakers for Students)
John Grisham was born on February 18, 1955, in Jonesboro, Arkansas, but for the first twelve years of his life, his family moved frequently so his father, a construction worker, could find work. In 1967, his family settled in Southaven, Mississippi where he became involved in sports.
After his high school graduation, Grisham enrolled at Northwest Junior College in Senatobia, Mississippi, and for a year played baseball for the school team. Restless, he transferred to Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi, hoping to become a professional ball player. After the coach at Delta State tactfully pointed out that Grisham was not suited for a baseball career, he transferred to Mississippi State University and studied accounting with the intention of becoming a tax attorney.
Shortly after earning his law degree from the University of Mississippi, Grisham and his wife Renée returned to Southaven. There, Grisham set up a small practice as a defense attorney. In addition, from 1984 to 1990, he served in the Mississippi House of Representatives. The Grishams have two children: a son, Ty, and a daughter, Shea.
Grisham's first book, A Time to Kill, was published in 1988. He worked on it as a hobby for three years, getting up early every morning to write before going to work. Though its original print run was five thousand copies, Grisham was satisfied. By then he was working on his second book, a legal thriller titled The...
(The entire section is 341 words.)