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Tuesday, August 30, 2022

1:30-2:45 p.m.

Bradley Center Arena 

Opening Convocation welcomes the beginning of the new academic year at Ramapo College. It is a formal academic ceremony that highlights Ramapo’s summer reading selection and provides an experiential learning opportunity for all students.

This year’s event featured guest speaker David Grann, author of Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI, the 2022 First-Year Seminar summer reading selection.

David Grann

New Yorker writer and bestselling author of Killers of the Flower Moon and The Lost City of Z, 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.

In his talks, Grann explores his creative process—from what initially inspires him to investigate a story to his painstaking research and then links the (often) forgotten histories to their relevance to today.

Grann’s latest book, Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI,  is a true crime tale that unravels one of the most sinister crimes and racial injustices in American history. With more than 30 weeks on The New York Times nonfiction bestseller list, it was a finalist for the National Book Award and ranked #1 on both Shelf Awareness and Amazon’s Single Best Books of the Year. The PBS NewsHour-New York Times Book club, ‘Now Read This,’ selected Killers of the Flower Moon for their February 2018 read. Following a highly publicized bidding war for the film rights, Killers of the Flower Moon is now in production with Martin Scorcese as director and starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

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 was 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,” with four of his New Yorker articles adapted for the screen, including Trial By FireThe Old Man & The Gun, starring Robert Redford, Casey Affleck and Sissy Spacek, and The White Darkness. With over fifty stunning photographs of British Antarctic-explorers Henry Worsley and Ernest Shackleton, The White Darkness is a powerful true story of adventure and obsession in the Antarctic.

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 MagazineThe Atlantic, and The Washington Post.