Lawrence Wright is an author, screenwriter, playwright, and a staff writer for The New Yorker magazine.
He is a graduate of Tulane University, in New Orleans, Louisiana, and the American University in Cairo, where he taught English and received an M.A. in Applied Linguistics in 1969. Upon his return to the U.S. in 1971, Wright began his writing career at the Race Relations Reporter in Nashville, Tennessee. Two years later, he went to work for Southern Voices, a publication of the Southern Regional Council in Atlanta, Georgia, and began to freelance for various national magazines. In 1980, Wright returned to Texas to work for Texas Monthly. He also became a contributing editor to Rolling Stone. In December 1992, he joined the staff of The New Yorker, where he has published a number of notable articles, which have won the John Bartlow Martin Award for Public Interest Magazine Journalism, Overseas Press Club's Ed Cunningham Award for best magazine reporting, and two National Magazine Awards.
Wright is the co-writer (with Ed Zwick and Menno Meyjes) of The Siege, starring Denzel Washington, Bruce Willis and Annette Bening, which appeared in November 1998. He also wrote the script of the Showtime movie, Noriega: God's Favorite, directed by Roger Spottiswoode and starring Bob Hoskins, which aired in April 2000.
His history of al-Qaeda, The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 (Knopf, 2006) was published to immediate and widespread acclaim, spending eight weeks on The New York Times best seller list and being translated into twenty-five languages. It was nominated for the National Book Award and won the Lionel Gelber Award for nonfiction, the Los Angeles Times Award for History, the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize, the New York Public Library Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism, and the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction. Time Magazine pronounced it one of the 100 best nonfiction books ever written.
In 2006, he premiered his one-man play, "My Trip to al-Qaeda," at The New Yorker Festival, and then enjoyed a sold-out six-week run at the Culture Project in Soho. It was made into a documentary film, directed by Academy Award-winner Alex Gibney, which appeared on HBO in the fall of 2010. Wright also performed another one-man show, "The Human Scale," concerning the standoff between Israel and Hamas over the abduction of an Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit. The Public Theater produced the play, which ran for a month off-Broadway in 2010 and for a week at the Cameri Theatre in Tel Aviv.
Wright has published six previous books. City Children, Country Summer (Scribner's, 1979), In the New World: Growing Up with America, 1960-1984 (Knopf, 1988), Saints & Sinners (Knopf, 1993), Remembering Satan (Knopf, 1994), Twins: Genes, Environment, and the Mystery of Identity (Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 1997; Wiley & Sons, 1998), and God's Favorite (Simon & Schuster, 2000).
Wright’s latest book, Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief, was published by Knopf on Jan. 17, 2013. It is based on a profile he wrote of the writer-director Paul Haggis in The New Yorker, which won the National Magazine Award in 2012.
In the spring of 2013, the Berkeley Repertory Theater produced Wright's play about Oriana Fallaci, "Fallaci," directed by Oskar Eustis. In 2014, the Arena Stage in Washington, DC, will premiere his play "Camp David," about the 1978 Carter-Begin-Sadat summit.
Wright is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He also serves as the keyboard player in the Austin-based blues band, Who Do.
Interviews and Profiles of Lawrence Wright
A Careful Writer Stalks the Truth About Scientology
The New York Times
January 2, 2013
Asharq Al-Awsat Interview (in Arabic)
In My Library
New York Post
September 26, 2010
By Nora Ankrum, The Austin Chronicle
September 26, 2010
A Profile of Lawrence Wright (in Arabic)
By Mohammed el-Shafei, Al Sharq Al-Awsat
June 25, 2009
Profile in the Austin American-Statesman
August 6, 2006
Q & A with the New Yorker's Lawrence Wright (English)
Interview by Mohammed Alkhereiji
January 7, 2006
"High Profile: Lawrence Wright"
By Bill Marvel, Dallas Morning News
February 16, 2003
Interview with Prof. Robert S. Boynton
NYU School of Journalism
November 3, 2002