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International best-selling author John Grisham appears at the National Book Festival. Speaker Biography: Long before his name became synonymous with the modern legal thriller, John Grisham was working 60 to 70 hours a week at a small Mississippi law practice, squeezing in time before going to the office and during courtroom recesses to work on his hobby: writing his first novel, "A Time to Kill." It initially sold a modest 5000 copies. His next book was the beginning of one of publishing's greatest success stories. When Grisham sold the film rights to "The Firm," he suddenly became a hot property among publishers, and book rights were bought by Doubleday. "The Firm" became the best-selling novel of 1991. Since first publishing "A Time to Kill" in 1988, Grisham has written one novel a year and all of them have become international best-sellers, with more than 235 million John Grisham books in print worldwide. His latest smash hit is "The Associate" (2009). Grisham lives in Mississippi and Virginia.