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New Yorker writer and bestselling author of The Lost City of Z and Killers of the Flower Moon David Grann doesn’t just produce captivating stories—he lives them. Whether crossing the ocean on a skiff or trekking for months through the Amazon, Grann immerses himself in his reporting to give his stories a pace and intensity unlike any other.
Grann’s latest book, Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI, unravels one of the most monstrous crimes in American history. With more than 20 weeks on The New York Times nonfiction bestseller list, it was a finalist for the National Book Award and ranked #1 on Amazon’s Best Books of the Year.
His first book, The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon, became a #1 NYT bestseller and has been translated into more than 25 languages. The book interweaves the story of the legendary British explorer Percy Fawcett’s 1925 quest to find a fabled civilization and Grann’s own attempt to follow Fawcett’s elusive trail and solve “one of the greatest mysteries of the twentieth century.”
The 2017 film adaptation, directed by James Gray and starring Charlie Hunnam, is a dramatic portrayal of Fawcett’s expedition through the Amazon. Called “mesmerizing” by The New York Times and “a mysterious, enthralling masterpiece” by The Atlantic, The Lost City of Z saw the return of Grann’s book to the Times bestseller list eight years after its original release.
Known for his compelling and irresistible stories, Grann has been called “The man Hollywood can’t stop reading.” The film version of his New Yorker article, “True Crimes,” starring Jim Carrey, will be released in 2017. The movie based on Grann's story, “The Old Man & The Gun,” is currently in production, starring Casey Affleck and Robert Redford. Following a bidding war for the film rights to Killers of the Flower Moon, a screenplay is now in development by Oscar winner Eric Roth, with Martin Scorcese as director and starring Leonardo DiCaprio.
Grann’s second book, The Devil and Sherlock Holmes, contains many of his New Yorker stories and was named by Men’s Journal one of the best true-crime books ever written. One particular story, “Trial by Fire,” won a George Polk award for outstanding journalism and a Silver Gavel award for fostering the public’s understanding of the justice system. It was also cited by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer about the constitutionality of the death penalty.
Before joining The New Yorker in 2003, Grann was a senior editor at The New Republic and the executive editor of The Hill. His work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, and The Washington Post.
Killers of the Flower Moon: The Arc of Justice
In this lecture, David Grann, author of Killers of the Flower Moon, illuminates how the struggle for Native American rights extends from the first contact with whites to the present day with Standing Rock. Grann highlights the saga of the Osage Indians, who once controlled the central part of the country. After being driven onto a rocky, presumably worthless reservation in Oklahoma, they discovered oil under their land and became the wealthiest people per capita in the world. Then, in the 1920s, they began to be mysteriously murdered. Grann documents how one of the most sinister crimes in American history connects to Native Americans’ current fight to control their land and resources.
The Lost City of Z: Secrets of the Amazon
Discoveries of ancient ruins in the jungle are overturning longstanding assumptions about the environment, civilization, and what the Americas looked like before the arrival of Christopher Columbus.
From Brooklyn to the Amazon, David Grann weaves together a sweeping story of exploration and scientific discovery in his attempt to solve “the greatest exploration mystery of the twentieth century.” Here, Grann really tells two tales: of the explorer Percy Fawcett chasing the Lost City of Z, and of the reporter – chasing the lost explorer – chasing the Lost City of Z.
America’s Hidden History: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI
David Grann discusses his newest book, Killers of the Flower Moon, about the Osage Indians, who, in the 1920s, became the wealthiest people in the world because of oil under their land in Oklahoma. They were then serially murdered off in one of the most sinister crimes in American history. The case became among the FBI’s first major homicide investigations. The FBI sent in a team of undercover agents, including one of the only Native Americans in the bureau. They eventually caught one of the masterminds. But, as Grann documents, there was deeper and darker conspiracy that the bureau never exposed.
Curiosity: The Creative Spark
Once called the “Master of Nonfiction,” David Grann always finds the best stories to tell. After an idea has clicked, he spends months doing research before ever putting pen to paper. Describing himself as “a generalist,” Grann says he likes to report on subjects he knows very little about.
“You want the story to be about something, have some deeper meaning, but there is also an emotional, almost instinctual, element, which is, does this story seize some part of you and compel you to get to the bottom of it?”
Grann explains how his keen instinct for finding exciting stories is much more about following his own curiosity, and how, with a light hand, he delivers an exhaustive amount of work in writings that are both compelling and irresistible.
From the Desk to the Jungle: The Unlikely Explorer
David Grann, an out-of-shape, desk-bound writer recounts his adventures searching for a lost city in the jungle and for a giant squid in the depths of the ocean, revealing how anyone can become an explorer and reap the benefits of embracing an adventurous spirit.
The Art of Storytelling: Understanding Who We Are
Grann, who has been called the “storyteller’s storyteller,” illuminates how the best tales are told and why they are so essential to understanding who we are.
Based On a True Story: The Crossroads of Film and History
Using examples from his own experience with The Lost City of Z, as well as other examples of cinematic adaptions, Grann will explore the interesting intersection of film and history.