GREG ILES was born in Germany in 1960, where his father ran the US Embassy Medical Clinic during the height of the Cold War. Iles spent his youth in Natchez, Mississippi, and graduated from the University of Mississippi in 1983. While attending Ole Miss, Greg lived in the cabin where William Faulkner…
GREG ILES was born in Germany in 1960, where his father ran the US Embassy Medical Clinic during the height of the Cold War. Iles spent his youth in Natchez, Mississippi, and graduated from the University of Mississippi in 1983. While attending Ole Miss, Greg lived in the cabin where William Faulkner and his brothers listened to countless stories told by “Mammy Callie,” their beloved nanny, who had been born a slave. Iles studied the novel under Willie Morris, who brought in friends William Styron, James Dickey, John Knowles and many others to enrich his classes. After several years playing in the band “Frankly Scarlet,” Iles wrote his first novel in 1993, Spandau Phoenix, which became the first of fourteen New York Times bestsellers. With his third novel, Mortal Fear, Iles began setting his novels in Mississippi, and in The Quiet Game, his fourth, he created Penn Cage and placed him in Iles’s own hometown of Natchez, the oldest city on the Mississippi River.
In 2011, Greg sustained life-threatening injuries in an automobile accident on Highway 61 near Natchez. He remained in a medically-induced coma for eight days and ultimately lost part of his right leg. Doctors declared his survival miraculous and predicted a long recovery, yet early in his rehabilitation, Greg found comfort and motivation by re-entering the world of the character, the town, and the secrets that his fans loved most. The road into these novels proved to be the road back to life.
Greg has also played a key role in a number of progressive issues in his home state of Mississippi, including efforts to have the Confederate emblem removed from the state flag of Mississippi, and to expand a “traditional” Natchez antebellum pageant to include depictions of the realities of slavery and racial strife. In August 2016 he received a lifetime achievement from the Writers Guild of Mississippi.
Iles is a member of the lit-rock group “The Rock Bottom Remainders” that includes authors Dave Barry, Ridley Pearson, Stephen King, Scott Turow, Amy Tan, Mitch Albom, Roy Blount, Jr., Matt Groening, Kathi Kamen Goldmark, James McBride and Roger McGuinn.
Iles lives with his wife in Natchez, Mississippi, and has two teenaged children. His novels have been made into films, translated into more than twenty languages, and published in more than thirty-five countries worldwide.