David Grann

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David Grann
David grann 2010.jpg
Grann at the 2010 Texas Book Festival
Born (1967-03-10) March 10, 1967 (age 50)
New York City
Occupation Staff writer, author, journalist
Nationality American
Alma mater Connecticut College
Notable works The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon
Notable awards Thomas J. Watson Fellowship
George Polk Awards
Spouse Kyra Darnton (m. 2000)
Children 2

David Grann (born March 10, 1967) is an American journalist, a staff writer for The New Yorker magazine, and a best-selling author.

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.[1]

Grann's articles have been collected 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.[2] He has written for The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and The Weekly Standard.[2] According to a profile in Slate, Grann has a reputation as a "workhorse reporter," which has made him a popular journalist who "inspires a devotion in readers that can border on the obsessive."[3]


Born in New York City, Grann graduated from Connecticut College in 1989 with a B.A. in Government.[4] He received a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship and conducted research in Mexico, where he began his career as a freelance journalist.[4] He received a master's degree in international relations from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in 1993.[2][5] At that point primarily interested in fiction, Grann hoped to develop a career as a novelist.[6]

His journalism career began after he was hired in 1994 as a copy editor at The Hill, a Washington, D.C.-based newspaper covering the United States Congress.[2] The same year, he earned a master's degree in creative writing from Boston University,[2][5] where he taught courses in creative writing and fiction.[6] He was named The Hill's executive editor in 1995.[2][4]

In 1996, Grann became a senior editor at The New Republic.[2][5] He joined The New Yorker in 2003 as a staff writer.[2][4] He was a finalist for the Michael Kelly Award in 2005.[7]

In 2009 he received both the George Polk Award and Sigma Delta Chi Award for his New Yorker piece "Trial By Fire," about Cameron Todd Willingham. It has been described as the first thoroughly documented case of the execution of an innocent man under the modern American judicial system.[citation needed]

Another New Yorker investigative article, "The Mark of a Masterpiece," raised questions about the methods of Peter Paul Biro, who claimed to use fingerprints to help authenticate lost masterpieces.[8] Biro sued Grann and The New Yorker for libel,[9][10] but the case was summarily dismissed.[11][12] The article was a finalist for the 2010 National Magazine Award.[13]


The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon recounts the odyssey of the notable British explorer, Captain 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 died or disappeared (and were presumed dead) seeking Fawcett. Grann also trekked into the Amazon. In his book, he reveals new evidence about how Fawcett died and shows that "Z" may have existed.[14]


The book was optioned by Brad Pitt's Plan B production company and Paramount Pictures.[15] It was adapted as a feature film of the same name and released in 2016.

Other books[edit]

An anthology of twelve previously published Grann essays, The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness, and Obsession, was published in March 2010.

In March 2014, Grann said he was working on a new book about the Osage Indian murders, "one of the most sinister crimes in American history."[16] His book Killers of the Flower Moon: An American Crime and the Birth of the FBI was published in 2017.

Personal life[edit]

In 2000 Grann married Kyra Darnton, a television producer and daughter of John Darnton. He has curated the George Polk Awards.[5] The couple has two children. As of 2009 they resided in New York City.[4]






  1. ^ "Hardcover Non-fiction Bestsellers." New York Times. March 6, 2009.[dead link]
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Potts, Rolf and Grann, David. "David Grann." RolfPotts.com. March 2009. Accessed May 26, 2009.
  3. ^ Jonah Weiner (April 11, 2011). "The Storyteller's Storyteller". Slate. Retrieved July 8, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c d e "Contributors: David Grann." The New Yorker. No date. Accessed May 26, 2009.
  5. ^ a b c d "Kyra Darnton, David Grann." New York Times. July 2, 2000.
  6. ^ a b "David Grann on murder, madness and writing for The New Yorker" by Andrea Pitzer, Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard, April 5, 2010
  7. ^ Press release: The 2005 Michael Kelly Award, June 6, 2005[dead link]
  8. ^ "Interview on Art Security Technology" by Noah Charney, Artinfo International Edition, September 16, 2011
  9. ^ "Art Analyst Sues The New Yorker" by Julia Filip, Courthouse News Service (July 1, 2011)[dead link]
  10. ^ "Forensic Art Expert Sues New Yorker – Author Wants $2 million for defamation over David Grann piece" by Dylan Byers, Adweek, June 30, 2011
  11. ^ 11 Civ. 4442 (JPO) Peter Paul Biro v. ... David Grann ..., United States District Court – Southern District of New York
  12. ^ /peter_paul_biro_loses_suit_new_yorker.php "Art Authenticator Loses Defamation Suit Against the New Yorker, by Albert Samaha, Village Voice blog, August 5, 2013
  13. ^ "Check Out ASME's National Magazine Awards Finalists" by Caroline Stanley, FlavorWire.com, 5 April 2011
  14. ^ 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.
  15. ^ "Paramount, Brad Pitt Find 'Lost City'", by Tatiana Siegel, Variety. March 31, 2008.
  16. ^ "I am David Grann.". Reddit. March 2014. Retrieved July 7, 2014. And right now I'm working on a new book about an historical mystery. It's about the Osage Indians in Oklahoma. In the 1920s they became the richest people in the world after oil was discovered under their reservation. Then they began to be mysteriously murdered off—poisoned, shot, bombed—in one of the most sinister crimes in American history. 
  17. ^ Amazon.com: Killers of the Flower Moon: An American Crime and the Birth of the FBI
  18. ^ Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann | PenguinRandomHouse.com

External links[edit]