From the pages to the lectern: John Grisham to kick off UNO lecture series


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Will Patterson

John Grisham, author of 28 published novels, including titles such as “The Firm, and “The Client” is set to speak at the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s Baxter Arena on April 21, 2016. Grisham has more than 300 million books in print. He is known for his legal thrillers that give a unique perspective in high stakes situations.

But what brings this world-renowned author to UNO’s campus? The Marion Marsh Brown Writer Lecture Series is the project responsible.

Grisham is to be the first speaker in the series that plans to bring an array of other authors to the Baxter Arena in future years.

The Marion Marsh Brown Writer Lecture Series is being presented by the family of the late Marion Brown.

“This is a family project,” said Paul Brown, son of the late Marion Brown, “Our three children are all supporting this. They all are enthusiastic supporters.”

Paul explained how his wife, Djel Ann Brown, had suggested they do something to honor his mother. With Marion’s history as such a passionate writer, they found bringing established authors from across the country could serve as a proper commemoration to the life of a remarkable woman.

Marion Brown passed away in 2000 at the age of 92. She leaves behind a legacy of teaching and writing from her time at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, then known as Omaha University.

Marion had 19 books published throughout her life, in addition to hundreds of articles and stories. She strived to create literature that could appeal to younger audiences, a group she believed had far too few written works available to them.

Last year Marion was the recipient of UNO’s 2015 Legendary Woman Award, adding another award to a long list of recognitions and accomplishments.

The Brown family decided to bring in Grisham for both his prominence in the writing world and their personal fondness of his novels.

“I can think of no greater name recognition,” Paul said. “Walk into any bookstore, and you will see his name in big, bold letters.”

His fondness for Grisham’s work comes in part from their shared history of practicing law. This aspect of Grisham’s life comes to light in his legal thrillers, many of which focus on individuals in law-based occupations.

“He’s a lawyer. I’m a lawyer,” Paul said.

When the Brown family approached UNO about the possibility of bringing in authors such as Grisham, both parties found the event was perfect for the new Baxter Arena. Such an event, offered to both students and the public, served as an ideal opportunity to bring the communities of Omaha together.

The inaugural lecture of the Marion Marsh Brown Writer Lecture Series will be taking place April 21, 2016 at 7 p.m. While tickets are required for admittance into the lecture, they are free and available to anyone in the community who wishes to attend. Tickets may be obtained from the Baxter Arena box office on Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. including the night of the event as long as tickets remain.


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