Ole Miss Law School alumnus and best-selling author John Grisham spent the afternoon signing first editions of his 30th novel “Camino Island” Tuesday afternoon before gathering in front of a packed house at Off Square Books.
The line of attendees stretched out the door and down the sidewalk to see Grisham on his first book tour in 25 years.
Grisham said he has had a special place for Square Books ever since he became an author.
“I’ve always considered Square Books my ‘home store,’” Grisham said.
Grisham was a part of a panel discussion about writing along with local authors Ace Adkins and Tom Franklin, who both write about crime among other topics.
The three talked about writer’s block, Oxford and their writing methods as well as their struggles.
Grisham said he enjoys contributing to Oxford’s literary scene.
“It is something that gives me great joy to do,” Grisham said.
He sponsors visiting authors who speak at Square Books. It is his way of supporting writers, but also booksellers.
“It’s a great place for literary writers; bookstores play a big role in that,” Grisham said.
A former crime reporter, Adkins is the author of 21 novels, including “The Fallen” and “Robert B. Parker’s Little White Lies.” He lives in Oxford and also contributes to Garden and Gun.
Some of Franklin’s notable works include “Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter” and “Poachers: Stories.” He is also an associate professor of fiction writing at Ole Miss.
The three took questions from the crowd and was facilitated by owner Richard Howorth.
Oxford is Grisham’s seventh stop on his 13-stop tour to 13 independent bookstores across the nation.
Grisham said Oxford, of course, is not ranked seventh in importance.
He started in Vermont and will finish later this year. Along the way, he is also recording local author discussions for a podcast aptly called “Book Tour with John Grisham.”
Each episode will feature local writers in each town and will drop each week. The podcast can be listened to for free on iTunes and other platforms.