Scott Turow Additional Biography

Biography

Scott Turow was born in Chicago on April 12, 1949, to David D. Turow, a physician, and Rita Pastron Turow, a writer. He grew up in Chicago and later in the affluent suburb of Winnetka, Illinois. From both parents he inherited a strong work ethic and powerful ambition. They expected him to become a physician like his father, but from a very early age he dreamed of being a writer. He edited his school newspaper and avidly read the authors who were to influence his own thought and work: Charles Dickens, James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, and Saul Bellow, whom he considered the voice of his parents’ generation. After high school, he enrolled as an English major at Amherst College. He began writing fiction, publishing short stories in literary periodicals such as the Transatlantic Review. After earning a bachelor’s degree from Amherst in 1970, Turow attended the Stanford University Creative Writing Center for two years on an Edith Mirrielees Fellowship. On April 4, 1971, he married Annette Weisberg, an artist; the couple has three children.

While enrolled at Stanford, Turow worked on a novel about Chicago to be called The Way Things Are. However, one publisher after another rejected the manuscript, leading Turow to doubt his prospects as an author. He decided to pursue a legal career, entering Harvard Law School in 1975. However, he never abandoned writing, even temporarily, though at this point he saw it as a “private passion” rather than a career. He later recounted his law school experiences in a nonfiction book published in 1977 as One L: An Inside Account of Life in the First Year at Harvard Law School. While...

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Biography

(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Scott Turow (tuh-ROH) is a successful Chicago attorney who has written best-selling fictional and nonfictional portrayals of the lives of lawyers and law students which both entertain and grapple with important moral and ethical issues confronting the legal system. Turow received his bachelor’s degree from Amherst College in 1970 and his M.A. in 1974 from Stanford University.

When he entered Harvard University Law School in the fall of 1975, he wrote down his reflections and experiences on the pressures and stresses to which he and his fellow students were subjected at this highly competitive and prestigious law school. His book analyzing these experiences was published in 1977 as One L and was immediately popular with both current and prospective law students, as well as with lawyers and the public. In many ways Harvard Law School has long served as a model for legal education in the United States, and the portrayal of the experience there from a student perspective helped encourage much critical examination. While this first book was nonfiction, it was told as a story and was highly entertaining—a precursor to the author’s later success as a popular novelist.

Following Turow’s graduation from Harvard Law School in 1978, he returned to Chicago, where he was admitted to the Illinois Bar and worked as a criminal prosecutor, serving as an assistant U.S. attorney from 1978 to 1986. Turow’s tenure at the U.S. attorney’s office in Chicago had included the time frame in which a widely publicized federal government “sting” operation entitled Operation Greylord had resulted in the indictment and successful prosecution of many local judges for taking bribes, fixing cases, and other corrupt acts. It was during his term in that job that he began in his spare time (including on the train during his commute downtown to his job) to write on yellow legal pads, recording a gritty, realistic portrayal of the workings of a county prosecutor’s office. The resulting legal thriller, Presumed Innocent, was published in 1987 and became a best-seller. It is told in the first person by a male prosecutor who is ultimately charged with, prosecuted for, and then acquitted of the murder of a female...

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