The draft of his first novel, "A Time to Kill," and various foreign language editions of his other record-setting works are among featured items in the newly opened John Grisham Room at Mississippi State University.
Dedicated earlier this week by Grisham, his family and university officials, the wood-paneled reading room in Mitchell Memorial Library is open 9 a.m.-4 p.m. weekdays. (Group tours should book by telephoning (601) 325-2559 in advance.)
"I want the room to be used," Grisham said in his dedicatory remarks. "My biggest hope is that it will inspire students to read, perhaps to write and, most importantly, to think."
Among the world's best-selling authors, Grisham is a 1977 MSU accounting graduate. He took up fiction writing in the 1980s during spare moments in his career as an attorney and his public service as a Mississippi legislator.
Like the earlier novels, his ninth and most recent release, "The Street Lawyer," has reached No. 1 on Publisher's Weekly best-seller list.
In the late 1980s, Grisham began donating a variety of materials to his alma mater. Among other items, they include literary papers, personal correspondence, book-related promotions, newspaper and magazine clippings, and documents related to his 1983-1990 service as a member of the Mississippi House of Representatives from DeSoto County.
While access to much of the literary materials is restricted, many other documents and memorabilia will be rotated on public display.
Grisham, the university's 1994 national alumnus of the year, has given generously to the university over the years. In addition to establishing student scholarships and faculty teaching awards, he actively supports Mississippi State's nationally prominent baseball program.
When possible, he returns to campus to lecture and attend sporting events.