John Grisham received the first annual Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction for his 2010 novel “The Confession.”

The award, which was personally approved by “To Kill a Mockingbird” author Harper Lee, was given to Grisham by the dean of the University of Alabama School of Law during a ceremony at the National Press Club Thursday. The law school administers the award.

The award will be given each year to a work of fiction “that best exemplifies the role of lawyers in society and lawyers’ power to effect change,” according to the law school. The work of fiction must capture the essence of Atticus Finch and his fight for justice.

In Grisham’s book, a black man is facing execution for the murder of a white cheerleader. The case gets complicated when another man confesses to a Kansas minister that he murdered the cheerleader.