Every spring, lawyer-turned-novelist John Grisham dominates the publishing world with a new bestseller. Nicknamed "Hurricane Grisham" by journalists, he has taken Hollywood by storm as well: Grisham's made-for-adaptation legal thrillers have spawned the blockbusters The Firm (1993), The Pelican Brief (1993), The Client (1994), and A Time to Kill (1996), inspiring Film Comment to concede that he may be one of cinema's new auteurs.
Born John Grisham Jr. on February 8, 1965 in Jonesboro, AR, Grisham is the second oldest of five children. His father, an itinerant construction worker, relocated the family often -- they lived in five different cities before settling in Southaven, MS, when Grisham turned 12. An avid reader, the first thing Grisham did in each new town was get a library card. In Southaven, he discovered the work of author John Steinbeck and began to entertain the idea of becoming a writer. Yet, he also loved sports and dreamed of playing professional baseball. Grisham spent one year on the team at Northwest Mississippi Junior College in nearby Senatobia. He then transferred to Delta State, where he walked onto the baseball team to disastrous results -- he could no longer hit a fastball and had grown afraid of curveballs. After giving up sports, Grisham left Delta to enroll at Mississippi State University.