John Grisham novel A Time To Kill headed for Broadway

John Grisham and Matthew McConaughey Matthew McConaughey starred in the film version of John Grisham's first novel

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A stage version of A Time To Kill, the first novel by US author John Grisham, is to open in New York later this year.

The 1989 thriller, about a young white lawyer who defends a black man charged with murder, previously spawned a 1996 film starring Matthew McConaughey.

The book has been adapted for the stage by Rupert Holmes, the Tony-winning author of the Dickens-inspired musical Drood.

An earlier version was presented at Washington's Arena Stage in 2011.

Ethan McSweeny, that production's director, will also direct the new Broadway play when it opens at the John Golden Theatre this autumn.

Previews will begin on 28 September, with an opening night on 20 October.

Though Grisham's books have inspired a number of films, among them The Firm, The Client and The Runaway Jury, A Time to Kill is the first to generate a theatrical adaptation.

"It was my first book and the first that I have allowed to be adapted for the theatre," the 58-year-old writer said in a statement.

"I am happy that not only my loyal readers, but a whole new audience will be able to experience this story in live theatre."

It is not yet known who will play lead character Jake Brigance, the role McConaughey played in Joel Schumacher's film.

Last month Grisham confirmed he was writing a sequel to A Time to Kill, titled Sycamore Row.

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