About

Melissa Gira Grant - Polaroid montage - 2021

Melissa Gira Grant is a journalist, author, and documentary filmmaker.

She is is a staff writer at The New Republic; the author of Playing the Whore: The Work of Sex Work (Verso), which was named a Village Voice favorite book of the year; and the co-director of They Won’t Call It Murder, selected for the 2021 DOC NYC Short List.

Her forthcoming book, A Woman Is Against the Law: Sex, Race, and the Limits of Justice of America (Little, Brown and Company), uses narrative journalism and original archival research to offer a feminist indictment of the criminal legal system, drawing on 150 years of women’s attempts to appeal to the law in search of safety, accountability, power, and freedom.

Gira Grant’s journalism focuses on the intersection of gender, sexuality, race, justice, and the law.

Based in New York, she has reported on violence against massage workers in Flushing; attacks on trans rights across Texas; resistance to police killings in Columbus, and the global movement for sex workers’ rights.

She was a senior staff writer at The Appeal, as well as a contributing writer at the Village Voice and Pacific Standard. Her feature reporting has been published by BuzzFeed News and the Guardian, and her commentary and criticism has appeared in The Washington Post, The New York Times, Bookforum and The New York Review of Books. Her essays are collected in Best Sex Writing, The Feminist Utopia Project, and Where Freedom Starts: Sex Power Violence #MeToo.

She has appeared on major national and international media outlets including MSNBC, NPR, Democracy Now, BBC, CBC, and Channel 4.

She was a resident writer at The Writer’s Block Residency Program in Las Vegas, in partnership with the literary studio Plympton and The Writer’s Block bookstore, and in 2016-2017, she was a visiting scholar at The Center for Place, Culture and Politics at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She was also a 2016 reporting fellow at the Association of Women’s Rights in Development (AWID) International Forum, in Bahia, Brazil.

She has been invited speaker at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung in Berlin, and the Eyebeam Art + Technology Center, among other institutions.

She is a member of the NewsGuild of New York, Investigative Reporters and Editors, and the Newswoman’s Club of New York.