John Grisham

(* 1955)

John GrisihamBiographical Sketch

John Ray Grisham, Jr. (born Jonesboro, AR, USA, February 8, 1955) is an American bestselling writer, attorney, politician, and activist best known for his popular legal thrillers. His books have been translated into 42 languages and published worldwide.

John Grisham graduated from Mississippi State University before attending the University of Mississippi School of Law in 1981. He practiced criminal law for about a decade and served in the House of Representatives in Mississippi from January 1984 to September 1990.

He began writing his first novel, A Time to Kill, in 1984; it was published in June 1989. As of 2012, his books had sold over 275 million copies worldwide. A Galaxy British Book Awards winner, Grisham is one of only three authors to sell 2 million copies on a first printing; the others are Tom Clancy and J.K. Rowling.

Grisham’s first bestseller was The Firm (1991); it sold more than seven million copies. The book was adapted into a 1993 feature film of the same name, starring Tom Cruise, and a 2012 TV series which continues the story of attorney Mitchell McDeere and his family 10 years after the events of the film and novel. Eight of his other novels have also been adapted into films: The Chamber, The Client, A Painted House, The Pelican Brief, Skipping Christmas, The Rainmaker, The Runaway Jury, and A Time to Kill.

A vocal opponent to the death penalty, Grisham is a member of the Board of Directors of the Innocence Project, which campaigns to free unjustly convicted people on the basis of DNA evidence. – In 2015, Grisham, along with about 60 others, signed a letter published in the Jackson, MS Clarion-Ledger newspaper, urging that an inset within the flag of Mississippi containing a Confederate flag be removed.

Read more about John Grisiham on Wikipedia.


Major Awards and Honors

Library of Congress Creative Achievement Award for Fiction
  • 2009
Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction (University of Alabama School of Law and ABA Journal)
  • 2011: “The Confession”
  • 2014: “Sycamore Row”
Tulsa Library Trust (Tulsa, Ok)
  • 2005: Peggy V. Helmerich Distinguished Author Award
National Book Awards (Great Britain)
  • 2007: Lifetime Achievement Award



Jake Brigance
  • A Time To Kill (1989)
  • Sycamore Row (2013)
  • A Time for Mercy (2020)
Nonseries Novels
  • The Firm (1991)
  • The Pelican Brief (1992)
  • The Client (1993)
  • The Chamber (1994)
  • The Rainmaker (1995)
  • The Runaway Jury (1996)
  • The Partner (1997)
  • The Street Lawyer (1998)
  • The Testament (1999)
  • The Brethren (2000)
  • A Painted House (2001)
  • Skipping Christmas (2001)
  • The Summons (2002)
  • The King of Torts (2003)
  • Bleachers (2003)
  • The Last Juror (2004)
  • The Broker (2005)
  • Playing for Pizza (2007)
  • The Appeal (2008)
  • The Associate (2009)
  • The Confession (2010)
  • The Litigators (2011)
  • Calico Joe (2012)
  • The Racketeer (2012)
  • Gray Mountain (2014)
  • Rogue Lawyer (2015)
  • The Whistler (2016)
  • Camino Island (2017)
  • The Rooster Bar (2017)
  • The Reckoning (2018)
  • The Guardians (2019)
  • Camino Winds (2020)
  • Sooley (2021)
  • The Judges List (2021)
Children’s / YA Literature
Theodore Boone
  • Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer (2010)
  • Theodore Boone: The Abduction (2011)
  • Theodore Boone: The Accused (2012)
  • Theodore Boone: The Activist (2013)
  • Theodore Boone: The Fugitive (2015)
  • Theodore Boone: The Scandal (2016)
  • Theodore Boone: The Accomplice (2019)
Short Stories
  • Ford County (2009)
  • The Tumor (2016)
  • Partners (2016)
    Rogue Lawyer story.
  • Witness to a Trial (2016)
  • The Wavedancer Benefit: A tribute to Frank Muller (2002)
    – With Pat Conroy, Stephen King and Peter Straub.
  • The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town (2006)
    – The story of Ronald ‘Ron’ Keith Williamson.
  • Don’t Quit Your Day Job: Acclaimed Authors and the Day Jobs they Quit (2010)
    – With various other authors.


A Selection of Quotes

A Time To Kill

“Mr. Buckley, let me explain it this way. And I’ll do so very carefully and slowly so that even you will understand it. If I was the sheriff, I would not have arrested him. If I was on the grand jury, I would not have indicted him. If I was the judge, I would not try him. If I was the D.A., I would not prosecute him. If I was on the trial jury, I would vote to give him a key to the city, a plaque to hang on his wall, and I would send him home to his family. And, Mr. Buckley, if my daughter is ever raped, I hope I have the guts to do what he did.”

Sycamore Row

“He hadn’t hit her in several years, but when you’ve been beaten you never forget it. The bruises go away but the scars remain, deep, hidden, raw. You stay beaten. It takes a real coward to beat a woman.”

The Client

“You advised him not to get a lawyer, giving as one of your reasons the opinion that lawyers are a pain in the ass. Gentlemen, the pain is here.”

The Rainmaker

“A battered wife is a married woman until she gets a divorce. Or until she kills the bastard.”

“The company later went broke, and of course all blame was directed at the lawyers. Not once did I hear any talk that maybe a trace of mismanagement could in any way have contributed to the bankruptcy.”

The Runaway Jury

“She was pondering the option of law school, the great American baby-sitter for directionless postgrads.”

The Confession

“He’s a two-faced, cutthroat, dirt-dumb, chicken shit, slimy, little bastard with a bright future in politics.”

“Death row is a nightmare to serial killers and ax murderers. For an innocent man, it’s a life of mental torture that the human spirit is not equipped to survive.”

The Appeal

“Poverty is a great equalizer.”

The Accused

“Like every false rumor, it gained credibility while being repeated, and before long it was practically a fact.”

The Activist

“Quitting is not the answer. Life is not fair, and you can’t quit every time something unfair happens to you.”

Rogue Lawyer

“Guilt beyond a reasonable doubt means if he probably did it, then let’s get him off the streets.”

Commencement Address at UNC-Chapel Hill (May 10, 2010)

“In life, finding a voice is speaking and living the truth. Each of you is an original. Each of you has a distinctive voice. When you find it, your story will be told. You will be heard.”

Find more quotes by John Grisham on Wikiquote and Goodreads.