A thrill down your spine

He might have had humble beginnings, but John Grisham has had a highly successful writing career. CS tells you more about the American author who turns 57 today: 

>> Grisham is an American lawyer and author, best known for his popular legal thrillers. A Galaxy British Book Awards winner, he is one of only three authors to sell two million copies on a first printing, the others being Tom Clancy and J K Rowling.

>> Grisham's first bestseller was The Firm. Released in 1991, it sold more than seven million copies. The book was later adapted into a film in 1993, and a TV series in 2012. Eight of his other novels have also been adapted into films. His books have been translated into 29 languages and published worldwide.

>> Grisham started working for a nursery as a teenager, watering bushes for $1 an hour. At 16, he took a job with a plumbing contractor; and at 17, he found work with a highway asphalt crew in Mississippi. His next work was in retail, as a salesclerk in a department store. By the time he quit this job, he was halfway through college. 

>> Grisham practised law for about a decade and also won election as a Democrat in the Mississippi state legislature from 1983 to 1990 at an annual salary of $8,000. His writing career blossomed with the success of his second book, The Firm, and he gave up practicing law.

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