David Grann

David Grann

Grann at the 2010 Texas Book Festival
Born David Grann
(1967-03-10) March 10, 1967
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 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.[2] He has also 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's reputation as a "workhorse reporter" 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 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 as a copy editor at The Hill, a Washington, D.C.-based newspaper covering the United States Congress in 1994.[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, he became a senior editor at The New Republic.[2][5] He joined The New Yorker in 2003 as staff writer.[2][4] He was a finalist for the Michael Kelly Award in 2005,[7] 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.[8] Biro sued Grann and The New Yorker for libel,[9][10] but the case was summarily dismissed.[11][12] The story was a finalist for the 2010 National Magazine Award.[13]


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.[14] The book was optioned by Brad Pitt's Plan B production company and Paramount Pictures.[15]

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]

Personal life

Grann married television producer Kyra Darnton, daughter of George Polk Awards curator, John Darnton, in 2000.[5] The couple has two children, and as of 2009 resided in New York City.[4]



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  1. "Hardcover Non-fiction Bestsellers." New York Times. March 6, 2009.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 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. 1 2 3 4 5 "Contributors: David Grann." The New Yorker. No date. Accessed May 26, 2009.
  5. 1 2 3 4 "Kyra Darnton, David Grann." New York Times. July 2, 2000.
  6. 1 2 "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
  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)
  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. "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, April 5, 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

External links

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