Picking Cotton (Paperback)

Our Memoir of Injustice and Redemption

By Jennifer Thompson-Cannino, Ronald Cotton, Erin Torneo

Griffin, 9780312599539, 297pp.

Publication Date: January 5, 2010



The New York Times best selling true story of an unlikely friendship forged between a woman and the man she incorrectly identified as her rapist and sent to prison for 11 years.

Jennifer Thompson was raped at knifepoint by a man who broke into her apartment while she slept. She was able to escape, and eventually positively identified Ronald Cotton as her attacker. Ronald insisted that she was mistaken-- but Jennifer's positive identification was the compelling evidence that put him behind bars.

After eleven years, Ronald was allowed to take a DNA test that proved his innocence. He was released, after serving more than a decade in prison for a crime he never committed. Two years later, Jennifer and Ronald met face to face-- and forged an unlikely friendship that changed both of their lives.

With Picking Cotton, Jennifer and Ronald tell in their own words the harrowing details of their tragedy, and challenge our ideas of memory and judgment while demonstrating the profound nature of human grace and the healing power of forgiveness.

About the Author

JENNIFER THOMPSON-CANNINO lives in North Carolina with her family. RONALD COTTON also lives with his wife and daughter North Carolina. ERIN TORNEO is a Los Angeles-based writer. She was a 2007 New York Foundation for the Arts Nonfiction Fellow. The authors received the 2008 Soros Justice Media Fellowship for this title.

Praise For Picking Cotton: Our Memoir of Injustice and Redemption

"Few stories of wrongful convictions have happy endings, but the one told by Ronald Cotton and Jennifer Thompson-Cannino is far different.  It is the powerful account of violence, rage, redemption, and, ultimately, forgiveness."
 —John Grisham"The story of Jennifer Thompson-Cannino and Ronald Cotton, as told in first-person voices in this gripping, well-written book, is exceptional."
St. Petersburg Times“Even the most cynical reader will be impressed with Cotton’s resilience and grace.”
The Washington PostPicking Cotton is the nonfiction title you must not overlook this year. It is as compelling as any fiction, yet the truth at its core will move you to tears.”
The Louisville Courier-Journal"Picking Cotton is ultimately an uplifting story of hope."
—The Charlotte Observer