10th Maroon Edition returns to John Grisham for 2018 book

President Mark E. Keenum, left, and best-selling author John Grisham are pictured at an MSU event in 2013. Grisham will return to campus in August to give the keynote address for the university’s Fall Convocation. PHOTO: Russ Houston | Public Affairs

Mississippi State’s common reading program returns to an alumnus -- and one of the world’s best-selling authors -- for the university’s 10th Maroon Edition program.

In a campus-wide message, MSU President Mark E. Keenum last Friday [March 23] announced John Grisham’s “Calico Joe” as the 2018 selection.

“‘Calico Joe’ tells a timeless story that raises important questions about forgiveness, the complicated relationships between children and their parents, and baseball. I believe you will find your time well spent as this story unfolds,” Keenum wrote.

Grisham is scheduled to deliver the keynote address at Mississippi State’s Fall Convocation in August, the formal beginning of the new academic year. His novel, “The Painted House,” was the first-ever Maroon Edition selection when the program started in 2009.

“We’re deeply honored that John will be returning to campus to speak with our new freshmen and transfer students during this very special time in their lives, and we look forward to welcoming him back,” Keenum said.

Approximately 5,000 copies of the novel will be given to incoming students arriving on campus this fall.

“Highlighting a John Grisham novel as our selection this year is an exciting way to mark the decennial anniversary of the Maroon Edition program as well as the 25th anniversary of MSU’s John Grisham Master Teaching Award,” said Jim Dunne, director of MSU’s Center for Teaching and Learning, which oversees the selection of the Maroon Edition book each year.

A 1977 MSU accounting graduate, Grisham attended law school at the University of Mississippi. He practiced law for nearly a decade in Southaven. In 1983, he was elected to the Mississippi House of Representatives and served until 1990.

Since first publishing “A Time to Kill” (Wynwood Press 1988), Grisham has written one novel a year — all international best-sellers. There are currently more than 300 million John Grisham books in print worldwide, which have been translated into 40 languages. Originally published by Doubleday, nine of his novels have been turned into films — “The Firm,” “The Pelican Brief,” “The Client,” “A Time to Kill,” “The Rainmaker,” “The Chamber,” “A Painted House,” “The Runaway Jury” and “Skipping Christmas” — as was an original screenplay, “The Gingerbread Man.” “The Innocent Man,” in October 2006, marked his first foray into non-fiction, and “Ford County,” in November 2009, was his first short story collection. His most recent novel — “The Rooster Bar” — was published in October 2017. For more, see www.jgrisham.com/bio.

Maroon Edition activities are held throughout the year for students at all class levels, as well as interested administrators, faculty and staff members.

Incoming MSU freshmen who participate in spring and summer orientation sessions receive a copy and are encouraged to read the selected book before they begin classes in the fall. The book also is available at the Barnes & Noble Bookstore at Mississippi State and other local and online book retailers.

For additional information about Maroon Edition, contact Dunne at (662) 325-2083 or jad54@msstate.edu.

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.

Jim Laird | Public Affairs

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