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See also:
* Writer News:
Grishams donate $5M for rebuilding efforts after catastrophic hurricane
(4 September 2005)
Film version of ‘A Painted House’ to air on CBS April 27
(22 April 2003)
* Book Info:
The Broker
(January 2005)
The Last Juror
(December 2004)
The Last Juror
(February 2004)
(September 2003)
The King of Torts
(February 2003)
The Summons
(December 2002)
The Summons
(February 2002)
Skipping Christmas
(November 2001)
A Painted House
(February 2001)
The Brethren
(December 2000)
The Brethren
(February 2000)
The Testament
(December 1999)
The Testament
(February 1999)
The Street Lawyer
(January 1999)
The Street Lawyer
(February 1998)
The Partner
(February 1998)
The Runaway Jury
(March 1997)
The Partner
(February 1997)
The Runaway Jury
(June 1996)

Home:  >Browse Listings   >Authors   >Grisham, John
John Grisham
John Grisham

John Grisham

The international phenomenon that is John Grisham was born in Jonesboro, Arkansas, on February 8, 1955. He took up residence in Southaven, Mississippi, in 1967. He received an undergraduate degree in accounting from Mississippi State University in 1977 and then attended law school at the University of Mississippi, where he earned a law degree in 1981. That same year, he married Renee Jones. He established a law practice in Southaven, where he practiced both criminal and civil law. In 1983, he was elected to the Mississippi House of Representatives. In 1989 he published his first novel, A Time to Kill. The book received some good reviews but sold only moderately well. His next book, however, would be a different story. Completed in 1988, The Firm would be his break-out hit. In 1990, before the novel was published, Paramount Pictures purchased the film rights for $600,000. That same year, he resigned from the House of Representatives and bought a farm near Oxford, Mississippi.

Since then, Grisham has gone on to be recognized as one of the world's bestselling novelists. In addition to A Time to Kill and The Firm, his titles include The Pelican Brief, The Client, The Chamber, and The Rainmaker, each of which has been scripted into immensely successful film versions. His most recent novels are The Partner (1997), The Street Lawyer (1998), The Testament (1999), and The Brethren (2000) .

In August 1994, he expanded his list of job titles to include publisher as well, when he rescued The Oxford American, a struggling magazine based in the town of its title, from financial destitution. In 2000, Grisham published A Painted House serially in the magazine. The novel, set in 1952 Arkansas, is, as Grisham readily admits, a departure from his usual style of novel. In a letter to readers, he writes, “A Painted House is not a legal thriller. In fact, there is not a single lawyer, dead or alive, in this story. Nor are there judges, trials, courtrooms, conspiracies or nagging social issues.” The novel was published as a single volume edition in 2001. Other departures from his legal thrillers include Skipping Christmas (2001), which was adapted into the motion picture Christmas with the Kranks (2004), and Bleachers (2004), a semi-autobiographical book about high school football.

In the spring of 2001, it was reported that Grisham had written the screenplay for the film Mickey, about the world of Little League baseball. Grisham also is serving as producer for the movie, which is being directed by Hugh Wilson and stars Harry Connick, Jr.

Grisham continues to write legal thrillers, the most recent of which are The Summons (2002), The King of Torts (2003), The Last Juror (2004), and most recently, The Broker (2005). He divides his time between a home in Charlottesville, Virginia, and Oxford, Mississippi.

Article first posted May 1998
Updated January 2005

Related Links & Info

Bantam-Doubleday (BDD) features this page on Grisham. (Photo by Deborah Feingold)



  • A Time to Kill. New York: Wynwood Press, 1989.
  • The Firm. New York: Doubleday, 1991.
  • The Pelican Brief. New York: Doubleday, 1992.
  • The Client. New York: Doubleday, 1993.
  • The Chamber. New York: Doubleday, 1994.
  • The Rainmaker. New York: Doubleday, 1995.
  • The Runaway Jury. New York: Doubleday, 1996.
  • The Partner. New York: Doubleday, 1997.
  • The Street Lawyer. New York: Doubleday, 1998.
  • The Testament. New York: Doubleday, 1999.
  • The Brethren. New York: Doubleday, 2000.
  • A Painted House. Oxford, Mississippi: The Oxford American (2000). New York: Doubleday, 2001.
  • Skipping Christmas. New York: Doubleday, 2001.
  • The Summons. New York: Doubleday, 2002.
  • The King of Torts. New York: Doubleday, 2003.
  • Bleachers. New York: Doubleday, 2003.
  • The Last Juror. New York: Doubleday, 2004.
  • The Broker. New York: Doubleday, 2005.

Media Adaptations

Motion Pictures:

  • The Firm. Dir. Sydney Pollack. Paramount Pictures, 1993. Based on the novel.
  • The Pelican Brief. Dir. Alan J. Pakula. Warner Bros., 1993. Based on the novel.
  • The Client. Dir. Joel Schumacher. Warner Bros., 1994. Based on the Novel.
  • The Chamber. Dir. James Foley. Universal Pictures, 1996. Based on the novel.
  • A Time to Kill. Dir. Joel Schumacher. Warner Bros., 1996. Based on the novel.
  • The Rainmaker. Dir. Francis Coppola. Constellation Films, 1997. Based on the novel.
  • The Gingerbread Man. Story by John Grisham. Dir. Robert Altman. Enchanter Entertainment, 1998.
  • A Painted House. Dir. Alfonso Arau. Hallmark Hall of Fame Productions and CBS-TV, 2003. Based on the novel.
  • Runaway Jury. Dir. Gary Fleder. New Regency Pictures, 2003. Based on the novel.
  • The Street Lawyer. Dir. Paris Barclay. Touchstone Television and ABC-TV, 2003.
  • Mickey. Dir. Hugh Wilson. Original screenplay by John Grisham. Mickey Productions, 2004.
  • Christmas with the Kranks. Dir. Joe Roth. Skipping Christmas Productions, 1492 Pictures, and Revolution Studios, 2004. Based on the novel Skipping Christmas.

Television Shows:

  • The Client. 1995-96. Based on the novel and movie.


Biographical and Author News:

  • Arnold, Martin. “Now, Grisham by E-mail.” The New York Times 147 (29 January 1998): B9.
  • Bearden, Michelle. “John Grisham: In Six Years, He's Gone from Rejection Slips to Mega-Sales.” Publishers Weekly 240.8 (22 February 1993): 70-71.
  • Brown, Ed. “Grisham's High Ground.” Fortune 136.5 (16 March 1998): 48.
  • Duffy, Martha. “Grisham's Law.” Time 145.19 (8 May 1995): 87-88.
  • Ferranti, Jennifer. “Grisham's Law.” Saturday Evening Post 269.2 (March-April 1997): 42-45.
  • “Grisham, John.” Current Biography 54.9 (September 1993): 21-24.
  • “Why John Grisham Teaches Sunday School.” Interview. Christianity Today 38.11 (3 October 1994): 14-15.
  • Zaleski, Jeff. “The Grisham Business.” Publishers Weekly 245.3 (19 January 1998): 248.51.

Reviews and Criticism:

  • Black, Joel. “Grisham's Demons.” College Literature 25.1 (Winter 1998): 35-40.
  • Bowman, James. Review of The Street Lawyer. National Review 50.6 (6 April 1998): 51-52.
  • Cauthen, Cramer R., and Donald G. Alpin, III. “The Gift Refused: The Southern Lawyer in To Kill a Mockingbird, The Client, and Cape Fear. Studies in Popular Culture 19.2 (October 1996): 257-75.
  • Diggs, Terry K. “Through a Glass Darkly; John Grisham and Scott Turow Lay Down the Law for Millions of Americans. Just What Is It They're Trying to Tell Us.” ABA Journal 82 (October 1996): 72-75.
  • Drell, Adrienne. “Murder, They Write.” ABA Journal 80 (June 1994): 46-51.
  • Forbes, E. Ripley. Review of The Runaway Jury. Public Health Reports 111.6 (November-December 1996): 556-57.
  • Forbes, Steve. Review of The Partner. Forbes 159.10 (19 May 1997): 28.
  • Ford-Kaus, Deborah. Review of The Client. Florida Bar Journal 67.7 (July-August 1993): 81.
  • Galen, Michael. Review of The Firm. Business Week 3211 (29 April 1991): 14-15.
  • Gates, David. Review of The Runaway Jury. Newsweek 127.22 (27 May 1996): 68.
  • Gladwell, Malcolm. Review of The Runaway Jury. The New Republic 215.19 (4 November 4 1996): 27-34.
  • Goodnight, G. Thomas. “The Firm, the Park and the University: Fear and Trembling on the Postmodern Trail.” The Quarterly Journal of Speech 81.3 (August 1995): 267-90.
  • Kakutani, Michiko. Review of The Street Lawyer. The New York Times 147 (10 February 1998): B1.
  • Keymer, David. Review of A Time to Kill. Library Journal 114.11 (15 June 1989): 80.
  • Klinkenborg, Verlyn. Review of The Firm. The New Republic 210.11 (14 March 1994): 32-38.
  • Martin, Sara. “Masculinity and Justice: Generational Changes in John Grisham’s The Chamber.” Journal of Criminal Justice and Popular Culture 9.2 (Winter 2002): 89-101.
  • Prescott, Peter S. Review of The Firm. Newsweek 117 (25 February 1991): 63.
  • Press, Aric. Review of The Pelican Brief. Newsweek 119.11 (16 March 1992): 73.
  • Prial, Frank J. Review of The Pelican Brief. The New York Times Book Review (15 March 1992): 9.
  • Pringle, Mary Beth. John Grisham: A Critical Companion. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1997.
  • Review of The Partner. The Economist 344.8026 (19 July 1997): S16-18.
  • Rockey, Alexandra. Review of The Chamber. Insight on the News 10.28 (11 July 1994): 28.
  • Sandler, Adam. “Grisham vs. Stone: 'Killer' opponents — Murder Sparks Novelist to Call for Action.” Variety 363.7 (17 June 1996): 11-12.
  • Skow, John. Review of The Chamber. Time 143.25 (20 June 1994): 67.
  • Skow, John. Review of The Pelican Brief Jury. Time 139.10 (9 March 1992): 70.
  • Skow, John. Review of The Runaway Jury. Time 147.22 (27 May 1996): 85.
  • Slover, Pete. Review of The Firm. ABA Journal 77 (April 1991): 125.
  • Stasio, Marilyn. Review of The Client. New York Times Book Review (7 March 1993): 18.
  • Stasio, Marilyn. Review of The Firm. New York Times Book Review (24 March 1991): 37.
  • Stasio, Marilyn. Review of The Street Lawyer. New York Times Book Review (22 March 1998): 28.
  • Stepp, Carl Sessions. Review of The Pelican Brief. Washington Journalism Review 14.6 (July-August 1992): 50.

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