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John Grisham was born in 1955 in Jonesboro, Arkansas. He received a law degree from University of Mississippi in 1981, and practiced civil and criminal law for almost 10 years in Southaven, Mississippi. His first novel, A Time to Kill, was published in 1988 with little fanfare, but his second novel, The Firm, became one of the biggest selling novels of 1991. He is one of the most popular American writers of courtroom thrillers, and many successful movies have been based on his books.