David Grann at the 2010 Texas Book Festival
March 10, 1967
New York, NY
|Notable work(s)||The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon|
|Notable award(s)||Thomas J. Watson Fellowship
George Polk Awards
His first book, The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon, was published by Doubleday in February 2009. After its first week of publication, it debuted on the New York Times bestseller list at #4.
Grann's stories have appeared in several anthologies, including What We Saw: The Events of September 11, 2001, The Best American Crime Writing of 2004 and 2005, and The Best American Sports Writing of 2003 and 2006. He has also written for The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and The Weekly Standard. According to a profile in Slate, Grann's reputation as a "workhorse reporter" has made him a popular journalist who "inspires a devotion in readers that can border on the obsessive."
Born in New York City, Grann graduated from Connecticut College in 1989 with a B.A. in Government. He received a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship and conducted research in Mexico, where he began his career as a freelance journalist. He received a masters degree in international relations from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in 1993. At that point primarily interested in fiction, Grann hoped to develop a career as a novelist.
His journalism career began after he was hired as a copy editor at The Hill, a Washington, D.C.-based newspaper covering the United States Congress in 1994. The same year, he earned a masters degree in creative writing from Boston University, where he taught courses in creative writing and fiction. He was named The Hill's executive editor in 1995. In 1996, he became a senior editor at The New Republic. He joined The New Yorker in 2003 as staff writer. He was a finalist for the Michael Kelly Award in 2005, and was awarded the 2009 George Polk Award and 2009 Sigma Delta Chi Award for his New Yorker piece "Trial By Fire," which has been described as the first thoroughly documented case of the execution of an innocent man (Cameron Todd Willingham) under the modern American judicial system. Another New Yorker investigative story, "The Mark of a Masterpiece," raised questions about the methods of Peter Paul Biro, who claimed to use fingerprints to help authenticate lost masterpieces. Biro sued Grann and The New Yorker for libel, but the case was summarily dismissed. The story was a finalist for the 2010 National Magazine Award.
The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon tells the story of the legendary British explorer Percy Fawcett who, in 1925, disappeared with his son in the Amazon while looking for the Lost City of Z. For decades, explorers and scientists have tried to find evidence of both his party and the Lost City of Z. More than 100 people perished or disappeared seeking Fawcett. Grann made his own journey into the Amazon, revealing new evidence about how Fawcett died and showing that Z may have indeed existed. The book was optioned by Brad Pitt's Plan B production company and Paramount Pictures.
An anthology of twelve previously published Grann essays, The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness, and Obsession, was published in March, 2010.
- Thomas J. Watson Fellowship (1989)
- Michael Kelly award, finalist (2005)
- George Polk Awards (2009)
- Samuel Johnson Prize, shortlist (2009)
- National Magazine Awards, finalist (2010)
- The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness, and Obsession (2010)
- The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon (2009)
- "The Yankee Comandante – A story of love, revolution, and betrayal.", The New Yorker, May 28, 2012.
- "A Murder Foretold – Unravelling the ultimate political conspiracy.", The New Yorker, April 4, 2011.
- "The Mark of a Masterpiece" – The man who keeps finding famous fingerprints on uncelebrated works of art, The New Yorker, July 12 & 19, 2010.
- "Trial by Fire – Did Texas execute an innocent man?", The New Yorker, September 7, 2009.
- "The Fall – John McCain's choices", The New Yorker, November 17, 2008.
- "The Chameleon – The many lives of Frédéric Bourdin", The New Yorker, August 11, 2008.
- "True Crimes – A postmodern murder mystery", The New Yorker, February 11, 2008.
- "The Lost City of Z – A quest to uncover the secrets of the Amazon", The New Yorker September 19, 2005.
- "Stealing Time – What makes Rickey Henderson run?", The New Yorker, September 12, 2005.
- "Mysterious Circumstances – The strange death of a Sherlock Holmes fanatic", The New Yorker, December 13, 2004.
- "Inside Dope – Mark Halperin and the transformation of the Washington establishment", The New Yorker, October 25, 2004.
- "The Squid Hunter – Can Steve O'Shea capture the sea's most elusive creature", The New Yorker, May 24, 2004.
- "The Brand – How the Aryan Brotherhood became the most murderous prison gang in America", The New Yorker, February 16, 2004.
- "City of Water – Can an intricate and antiquated maze of tunnels continue to sustain New York?", The New Yorker, September 1, 2003.
- "The Price of Power", The New York Times Magazine, May 11, 2003.
- "The Old Man and the Gun – Forrest Tucker had a long career robbing banks, and he wasn't willing to retire", The New Yorker, January 27, 2003.
- "Baseball Without Metaphor", The New York Times Magazine, September 1, 2002.
- "Which Way Did He Run?", The New York Times Magazine, January 13, 2002.
- "Giving "The Devil" His Due", The Atlantic Monthly, June, 2001.
- "Crimetown USA – The city that fell in love with the mob.", The New Republic, July 10, 2000.
- "The Stasi and the Swan – The last spy story of the cold war." The New Republic, April 19, 1999.
- "The Selling of the Scandal", The New Republic, September 28, 1998.
- "Hardcover Non-fiction Bestsellers." New York Times. March 6, 2009.
- Potts, Rolf and Grann, David. "David Grann." Vagabonding.com. March 2009. Accessed May 26, 2009.
- "The Storyteller's Storyteller" – No journalist working today spins a yarn quite like The New Yorker's David Grann by Jonah Weiner, Slate, April 11, 2011.
- "Contributors: David Grann." The New Yorker. No date. Accessed May 26, 2009.
- "Kyra Darnton, David Grann." New York Times. July 2, 2000.
- "David Grann on murder, madness and writing for The New Yorker" by Andrea Pitzer, Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard, April 5, 2010
- Press release: The 2005 Michael Kelly Award, June 6, 2005
- "Interview on Art Security Technology" by Noah Charney, Artinfo International Edition, September 16, 2011
- "Art Analyst Sues The New Yorker" by Julia Filip, Courthouse News Service (1 July 2011)
- "Forensic Art Expert Sues New Yorker – Author Wants $2 million for defamation over David Grann piece" by Dylan Byers, Adweek, June 30, 2011
- 11 Civ. 4442 (JPO) Peter Paul Biro v. ... David Grann ..., United States District Court – Southern District of New York
- "Art Authenticator Loses Defamation Suit Against the New Yorker, by Albert Samaha, Village Voice blog, August 5, 2013
- "Check Out ASME's National Magazine Awards Finalists" by Caroline Stanley, flavorwire.com, April 5, 2011
- Heckenberger, Michael. The Ecology of Power: Culture, Place, and Personhood in the Southern Amazon, A.D. 1000–2000. New York: Routledge, 2005. ISBN 0-415-94598-4;
Heckenberger, Michael J.; Kuikuro, Afukaka; Kuikuro, Urissapá Tabata; Russell, J. Christian; Schmidt, Morgan; Fausto, Carlos; and Franchetto, Bruna. "Amazonia 1492: Pristine Forest or Cultural Parkland?" Science. April 25, 2003;
Heckenberger, Michael J. "Manioc Agriculture and Sedentism in Amazonia: The Upper Xingu Example." Antiquity. September 1998.
- "Paramount, Brad Pitt Find 'Lost City'", by Tatiana Siegel, Variety. March 31, 2008.
- David Grann, official website
- Murder, madness, obsession, Bookpod audio essay
- Articles by David Grann at The New Yorker