John Grisham

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The author of 18 back-to-back best sellers, many of which have been turned into blockbuster movies, Grisham has helped make legal thrillers one of the most popular genres among U.S. readers. Grisham, a former lawyer and politician, has even taken his best-sellerdom to countries with legal systems completely different than that in the United States. His works are translated into more than 30 languages.

His works include “A Time to Kill,” “The Firm,” “The Pelican Brief,” “The Client,” “The Chamber,” “The Runaway Jury,” “The Last Juror” and “The Broker.”

After writing legal thrillers for 14 years, Grisham took a brief hiatus from the genre in 2001 with the publication of “A Painted House,” a highly fictionalized childhood memoir of a month in the life of a 7-year-old kid, who is basically Grisham. He also wrote “Skipping Christmas,” a charming and hilarious look at the mayhem and madness that have become ingrained in the holiday tradition. He quickly returned to the genre in 2002 with “The Summons” and “The King of Torts.” His most recent courtroom thrillers are “The Last Juror” and “The Broker.”

Grisham’s latest work, which is his first nonfiction book, is about Keith Williamson, an Oklahoma death-row inmate who was exonerated of murder charges only days before his scheduled execution in 1999. The book is due out in 2006.

Born in 1955 in Jonesboro, Ark., Grisham now resides in Charlottesville, Va.