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 prize-winning articles, including two National Magazine Awards.
Wright is the co-writer (with director 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.
Wright is the author of one novel, God’s Favorite (Simon & Schuster, 2000) and eight nonfiction books, including 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), and Twins; Genes, Environment, and the Mystery of Identity (Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 1997). 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 bestseller list and being translated into twenty-five languages. It 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. Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief (Knopf, 2013), also a New York Times bestseller, was nominated for the National Book Award and won the Investigative Reporters and Editors Award. His most recent book, Thirteen Days in September: Carter, Begin, and Sadat at Camp David, was published in the fall of 2014, and was named by Publisher's Weekly as one of the top ten books of the year.
In 2006, Wright 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 wrote and 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 before moving to the Cameri Theater in Tel Aviv.
In the spring of 2013, the Berkeley Repertory Theater produced Wright’s play about Oriana Fallaci, “Fallaci,” directed by Oskar Eustis. A year later, the Arena Stage in Washington, D.C., premiered Wright’s acclaimed play “Camp David,” about the Carter-Begin-Sadat summit.
Wright co-produced a 2015 documentary for HBO, Going Clear, based on his book of the same name. It won many awards, including the Alfred I. du-Pont-Columbia award and three Emmys, including best documentary.
Wright is currently producing (with director Alex Gibney and show runner Dan Futterman) a dramatic television series for Hulu based on his book The Looming Tower.
Wright is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Society of American Historians. He also serves as the keyboard player in the Austin-based blues band, WhoDo.
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