In a captivating segment on 60 Minutes, Jon Wertheim delved into the world of David Grann, renowned author of bestsellers like “The Wager: A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny, and Murder.” Grann’s latest book, released in April, has already garnered significant attention and acclaim.
Before the book’s launch, Grann sat down with 60 Minutes to discuss his approach to researching and crafting his highly immersive works of narrative non-fiction. His books are a masterful blend of history, journalism, and true crime, expertly crafted to keep readers on the edge of their seats. It comes as no surprise that Hollywood developers have taken notice, as his previous work, “Killers of the Flower Moon,” is currently being adapted into a star-studded movie by Martin Scorsese, featuring talents like Leonardo DiCaprio, Brendan Fraser, and Robert De Niro.
Grann’s writing covers an array of topics, from the exploits of British explorers in the Amazon to the haunting stories of Native American murders, escaped prisoners, and shipwreck mutinies. However, one common thread weaves through each of his works: exhaustive investigation. Years of meticulous research in archives and on-site form the foundation of his books, which are all based on true events.
Unearthing Hidden Stories
In an enthralling narrative, Grann took 60 Minutes on a tour of his office, a treasure trove of thousands of records, journals, and documents used as references during his writing process. He emphasized the significance of hidden stories and secrets buried in archives, which play a crucial role in shaping his narratives. For Grann, sifting through historical archives and unearthing forgotten tales is both challenging and rewarding, leading to serendipitous moments that can change the course of his storytelling.
The Serendipitous Moment
Grann shared one such serendipitous moment during his research at the National Archives in Fort Worth, Texas, where he stumbled upon a ledger that held a historical secret pivotal to “Killers of the Flower Moon.” The accidental discovery of this essential document over five years of research highlights the unpredictability of his journey through history.
Going Beyond the Archives
While thorough archival research lays the groundwork for compelling storytelling, Grann goes a step further to create something truly extraordinary. He believes in developing meaningful relationships with sources and immersing himself in experiences similar to those of his characters. These interactions and friendships enrich his life and ultimately add depth and authenticity to his narratives, even if they may not always be explicitly present in the final works.
David Grann’s dedication to his craft, his willingness to venture beyond the archives, and his ability to weave captivating tales have solidified his position as one of the most acclaimed authors of narrative non-fiction. As readers eagerly await his next work, the spotlight on David Grann’s creative process continues to shine brightly.
Source : CBS
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