A lawyer by profession and an author by fame, John Grisham is the brilliant American writer of numerous novels best known for his legal thrillers. He was born on February 8, 1955 in Jonesboro, Arkansas to parents who were never formally educated but encouraged their son to pursue an education and prepare himself for college. Grisham settled with his parents in Southaven where he spent his younger years.
A young Grisham could not have imagined of becoming a writer since he had not developed any interest in writing until after starting a professional career in law. John drifted through three different colleges before finally obtaining a degree. He attended the Mississippi State University in 1971 and received a BS degree in accounting and in 1981 graduated from the University Of Mississippi School Of Law to become a tax lawyer. However, he changed his mind and shifted interest in general civil litigation. Earning a Juris Doctor degree, John specialized in criminal law. He established a small legal practice of his own upon returning to Southaven. Grisham served Mississippi House of Representatives after being elected in 1983. He was later promoted to the position of Vice Chairman Apportionment and Elections Committee.
A case Grisham has been closely observing inspired him to start writing his first novel, A Time to Kill (1989). Rejected by 28 publishers, the book finally found an unknown publisher who agreed to publish a limited number of copies. Without the benefit of marketing by an established publisher, John was forced to directly request booksellers to stock his book. Despite a sale of only 5000 copies, Grisham quickly began work on a second novel, The Firm. He closed his office in Southaven, deciding not to seek a re-election in the legislature. John moved to Oxford, Mississippi with his family to give them more time and concentrate on his writing. The Firm (1991) secured the position of the bestselling novel of 1991 and maintained its place on The New York Times’ bestsellers list for 47 weeks.
Grisham continued to writer legal thrillers and produced brilliantly written works such as The Client (1993), The Chamber (1994), The Runaway Jury (1996), The Partner (1997), The Street Lawyer (1998), The Testament (1999), The Summons (2002), The Last Juror (2004), The Broker (2005), The Appeal (2008), The Associate (2009), The Confession (2010) and The Litigators (2011). 2001 onwards, Grisham broadened his scope of writing from law to other subjects, particularly his lifelong passion of baseball. A Painted House (2001) was his first non-legal book followed by Skipping Christmas (2001), Bleachers (2003) and Playing for Pizza (2007).
John Grisham was awarded the the Peggy V. Helmerich Distinguished Author Award by the Tulsa Library Trust in 2005. A John Grisham Room is maintained in The Mississippi State University Libraries, Manuscript Division where materials generated during the author’s tenure as Mississippi State Representative are archived. Grisham is a zealous supporter to new writers endowing scholarships and writers’ residencies in the University of Mississippi’s English Department and Graduate Creative Writing Program. He is also the founder of, Oxford American, a dedicated magazine for literary writing.
Today, John Grisham continues to write bestselling novels. He lives with his wife and two children in homes he has in Oxford, Mississippi and Charlottesville, Virginia.