John Ridley is an American screenwriter, film director, novelist, and showrunner, known for 12 Years a Slave, for which he won an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. After both writing and directing his film debut, the 1997 crime thriller Cold Around the Heart, Ridley went on to write the novels Love Is a Racket and Everybody Smokes in Hell. His novel Spoils of War was adapted into the film Three Kings. Ridley then became a writer and a supervising producer on the NBC crime drama Third Watch. His other novels are The Drift, Those Who Walk in Darkness, and A Conversation with the Mann.