North Carolina Central featured in novelist John Grisham’s latest bestseller

RALEIGH, NC (WNCN) – Best known for courtroom novels, author John Grisham’s latest book incorporates one of North Carolina’s passions: college basketball.

Grisham’s novel “Sooley, Which ranks first on the New York Times bestseller list, follows the life of a young man from South Sudan who wins a spot to represent his country in a basketball tournament in the United States .

“Sports books are wonderful hijackings of all the crooked lawyers I write about, legal thrillers and courtroom dramas. And I love to read sports stories, we all do, especially the saddest ones, ”Grisham said. “But I’ve wanted to write about college basketball for a long time. I wrote two soccer novels, a baseball novel and always looked for a story, a basketball story, and when the story was told about a year ago it sounded great. work and the book has improved. ”

Grisham, who himself played high school basketball, chose Sooley to play for North Carolina Central for a reason.

“While he is here terrible things are happening in his village in South Sudan, his house is destroyed, his family is scattered, he does not know if they are alive,” Grisham said.

Hoping they survived and find themselves in a refugee camp, the Eagles basketball team, the Eagles football team, the NCCU campus and Durham become Sooley’s refuge.

“Because when you meet Sooley, he is not recruited, he is a good player but the grandes écoles would not pursue him. Central didn’t recruit him but the central coach was good friends with Sooley’s summer coach and he kind of pulled a string and brought him to campus.

“I had to choose a school that was not attending a Power 5 conference. I wanted a school that was attending a conference where the winner of the conference tournament would get an automatic bid for March Madness and so these reasons came together,” did he declare.

While much of the book takes place in Durham, South Sudan is really part of what drives the story.

“It’s a humanitarian crisis and it’s not getting better so I kind of wanted to, you know I didn’t want to deliver a message, I’m writing a sports book, but I thought it would be nice if I could shed some light on it. the problem in a modest way and let the readers learn something about what is going on, ”he said.

John Grisham lives part-time in Chapel Hill and his wife, Renne, grew up in Raleigh.

To watch Russ Bowen’s interview on Grisham’s novel, Camino Winds, Click here.

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