Monday, October 6, 2008

John Grisham: Prolific Writer

John Grisham, author of the novel, A Time to Kill, started his career as a lawyer. On the side, he wrote A Time to Kill, which became his first succesfully published work and the impetus behind his career as a literary figure. As a writer with background in law, he enjoys unusual expertise as a novelist. He writes novels based on firsthand knowledge of the criminal justice system. Although A Time to Kill was his first novel, it was not his first work to be adapted to the cinema. The following titles as adaptations predate A Time to Kill:

The Firm. Dir. Sydney Pollack. Paramount Pictures, 1993.
The Pelican Brief. Dir. Alan J. Pakula. Warner Bros., 1993.
The Client. Dir. Joel Schumacher. Warner Bros., 1994.
The Chamber. Dir. James Foley. Universal Pictures, 1996.

A Time to Kill published as a novel in 1989 was not released as a film until 1996.

Since 1996, Grisham has had the following works adapted to film.

The Rainmaker. Dir. Francis Coppola. Constellation Films, 1997.
The Gingerbread Man. Dir. Robert Altman. Enchanter Entertainment, 1998.
A Painted House. Dir. Alfonso Arau. Hallmark Hall of Fame Productions and CBS-TV, 2003.
Runaway Jury. Dir. Gary Fleder. New Regency Pictures, 2003.
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.

By no means is Grisham not successful as both a novelist and collaborator; he often collaborates on adaptations of his work, including writing the screenplays. Of note, his recent work, Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town, is his first work of non-fiction, and it traces the innocence of several men sentenced to capital punishment for murders they did not commit. Some escaped execution within a matter of minutes. Grisham, a popular writer, enjoys a cult following as well as broad appeal. His works consistently expose readers to theme of social injustice mitigated by the possibilities of redemption.

To learn more about Grisham’s commitment to social justice, complemented by his background in the field of law, visit this website maintained by the University of Mississippi, his alma mater: The Mississippi Writers Page: John Grisham. Post your responses about Grisham as a writer, film collaborator, and expert in the law field upon previewing the site, and let us know if you have seen any of the movies based on upon his works or read his books, and if so, what your response was.
Photo of Grisham is from the Mississippi Writers' site, specifically: //


Hannah said...

I believe that Grisham is a very effective writer for his stories engross the reader into what is happening. In "A Time To Kill", he writes with great description and also allows the reader to visualize what is occuring.

Alyssa said...

John Grisham's background in law makes his writing more accurate when dealing with court procedures. His background allows him to create stories from cases he has worked and make for interesting and new ideas. I read his novel "The Testament," which has less of a social justice theme but was still a very entertaining and well-written book.

Hannah said...

As Alyssa said, Grisham's law background allows him to immerse the reader in the court cases and understand all of the law precedings associated with Carl Lee Haley's case. This makes him a very effective writer.

Teresa said...

It's very cool that many of his books were actually made into films. Having a background in law to help make his plots concievable was probably a factor in his popularity. Personally, I have seen only one other movie based on his books, and that is Runaway Jury. I like the fact he uses fact to base his books on because it can teach you something as well as entertain you.