(STILLWATER, Oklahoma / April 5, 2018) — David Grann, author of the 40-week New York Times bestselling book, “Killers of the Flower Moon: the Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI,” will visit Stillwater on Thursday, April 12, at 7 p.m. in Gallagher Iba Arena (GIA). The appearance is the finale event for the library’s most successful "One Book, One Community” series, which has already drawn almost 3000 in attendance over the last five weeks.
“The turnout and support from the community has been phenomenal,” said Lynda Reynolds, library director. “This is the first time the library has hosted a bestselling author. We could never have done it without the Osage Nation Foundation which is funding the appearance and providing our community an opportunity to meet the author of a book that is turning out to mean so much to Oklahomans.”
According to Reynolds, the visit also would not have been as accessible to so many people without the support of people and organizations who lent their support.
“We are so grateful to organizations and readers across the community who contributed to helping us move the David Grann event to a venue that will accommodate every person interested in attending.”
The event, which was originally scheduled for a 600 seat facility, had to be moved to GIA due to overwhelming demand for tickets.
“When we realized we needed to move to a much larger venue, we also realized we would need to raise some additional funds,” said Reynolds. “The community stepped right in to help else us.”
Contributors to the move include OSU Office of the President, Visit Stillwater, readers throughout the community, OSU College of Arts and Sciences, Shake, Rattle & Roll, OSU Division of Institutional Diversity, OSU Library, OSU Center for Oklahoma Studies, OSU Center for American Indian Studies, Friends of the Stillwater Public Library, Exchange Bank, Stillwater Frontier Rotary, OSU Center for Sovereign Nations, Central Drug and Ostate.TV.
Grann will take the stage on the GIA basketball court for an interview-style program with Dr. Hugh Foley, who is a professor at Rogers State University and served as the library’s humanities advisor for the series. Foley will also be interviewing Margie Burkhart, Kathryn Red Corn and Marvin Stepson, members of the Osage Nation whose ancestors were killed during the “Reign of Terror.” Grann will be signing copies of his book following the program.
According to Reynolds, the library is expecting more than 1500 readers to attend the finale, so plans for the event have been made as efficient as possible to help the event run smoothly.
  • Ticketing: The event is free and no tickets are required. First come, first seated.
  • Parking: Free parking in lot just south of Boone Pickens Stadium after 5 p.m.
  • Schedule: Doors open at 6 p.m.; program starts at 7 p.m.; and book signing begins at 8 p.m.
  • Seating: Public will enter through the NE and SE lobby doors and use escalators or elevator to reach general seating in the 200s section. Handicap seating is immediately above the 200s section.
  • Book Signing: Expect long lines. Limit of two books per person. Pre-signed bookplates will be available for those who choose not to wait in line for a personal autograph.
  • Safety: Bags will be checked at entry. No food or drink is allowed.
  • Livestreaming: The event will be online at http://ostate.tv on Live 2.
Bliss Books & Bindery will be on hand before and after the program to sell hardback copies of “Killers of the Flower Moon” for those who were unable to get one by attending a library book discussion.
Nearly 400 copies of the book have been distributed by the library, with an equal number attending books discussions that have been held throughout town.
“We have had some amazing discussions about the book,” said Reynolds. “The topic has really hit a nerve and is bringing this little known history to the attention of the nation. It’s also bringing well-deserved attention to one of the country’s top non-fiction writers.”
“Killers of the Flower Moon,” which recounts the 1920s serial murders of Osage tribe members, is Grann’s third, in a string of critical and public non-fiction successes.
His 2008 book, “The Lost City of Z,” told the story of British explorer Percy Fawcett and his adventure into the Amazon to find the mysterious kingdom of El Dorado. It reached number four on the New York Times Bestseller list and was on the big screen in 2017.
In 2011, the author released “The Devil and Sherlock Holmes,” a collection of true crime stories, recounting everything from the search for mythical giant squid to the mysterious death of a Sherlock Holmes scholar. The film rights to four of the stories have been optioned for development.
The common element in each of the three books is the way Grann immersed himself into his research.
According to a slate.com article, Grann is attracted to stories involving obsession, like Fawcett’s fascination with El Dorado or Bill Hale’s fixation with oil. Obsession is something the writer understands and experiences himself as he begins investigating for a book.
"When I work on stories,” said Grann. “I tend to lose sight of everything else. I forget to pay bills or to shave. I don't change my clothes as often as I should."
During his research for “The Lost City of Z,” obsession led to Grann uncovering new material in Fawcett’s archives and to following Fawcett’s path into the Amazon, a dangerous expedition said to have taken the lives of 100 people who died trying to find out what became of the explorer.
It was this same obsession that led Grann to spend nearly five years chasing research about the Osage murders. The author visited the Osage area two to three weeks at a time several times a year, tracking down and interviewing descendants, researching courthouse records, and sifting through state and national archives to uncover the story behind the murders.
But it is not just obsession that makes Grann’s books great; it is also his sheer writing talent. An article in Newsweek, which calls him the “Master of Nonfiction,” points out how refreshing it is to have an author who is known for nothing other than his hard work and writing skills.
Grann has a lot of experience honing those skills. The writer, who holds a master’s in international relations from Tufts and master’s in creative writing from Boston University, is the former executive editor of The Hill and senior editor of The New Republic. Since 2003, he has been a staff writer for the New Yorker where he has had articles win or be finalists for journalism awards.
Grann’s writing skills and reputation for integrity in journalism was much needed in tackling a sensitive story like that of “Killers of the Flower Moon.”
“I often feel that with a crime story, the moral standards have to be higher,” said Grann in a Newsweek interview. “You’re dealing with real victims, and with real consequences.”
What the librarians at Stillwater Public Library like about Grann is something that hits closer to home.
“This author loves to read,” said Reynolds. “Being a voracious reader really makes a difference in an author writing a book that readers love to read.”
In a New York Times article, Grann, who began his love affair with reading when he discovered the works of Oklahoma writer S.E. Hinton, says he tends to avoid reading non-fiction for pleasure.

“Because I read so much nonfiction for work, I enjoy fiction most, especially detective novels and mysteries that keep me awake at night. I’ll read anything by Megan Abbott, Eric Ambler, Kate Atkinson, Michael Connelly, John Grisham and Dashiell Hammett. I don’t instinctively pick up science fiction, but if it’s well written I can easily be swept away.”

Being a reader is a family trait for Grann. The author’s mother is Phyllis Grann, the first female publishing CEO who was the longtime head of Penguin Putnam. In New York Magazine, writer Tom Clancy called her “Supergirl,’ saying that "like Spielberg makes movies, she makes books."

“Stillwater owes a debt of gratitude to Mrs. Grann,” said Reynolds. “For raising a reader who is now bringing our community together to read and talk about his book.”

For more information about the David Grann event, visit the series website at http://library.stillwater.org/flowermoon.php or contact the Help Desk at (405) 372-3633 x8106.