About

Lawrence Wright is an author, screenwriter, playwright, and staff writer for The New Yorker magazine.

He is a graduate of Tulane University, in New Orleans, and the American University in Cairo. He began his writing career at The Race Relations Reporter in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1971. In 1980, Wright became a staff writer for Texas Monthly. He also became a contributing editor to Rolling Stone. In 1992, he joined the staff of The New Yorker, where he has published a number of prize-winning articles, including three National Magazine Awards.

He is the author of eleven nonfiction books. His book about the rise of al-Qaeda, The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 (Knopf, 2006), was published to immediate and widespread acclaim. It has been translated into 25 languages and won numerous awards, including the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction. It was made into a series for Hulu in 2018, starring Jeff Daniels, Alec Baldwin, and Tahar Rahim.

Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief (Knopf, 2013) was a New York Times bestseller. Wright and director Alex Gibney turned it into an HBO documentary, which won three Emmys, including best documentary. Wright and Gibney also teamed up to produce another Emmy-winning documentary, for Showtime, about the murder of Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi.

Wright has published two novels, God’s Favorite (Simon and Schuster, 2000) which was made into a Showtime movie starring Bob Hoskins; and The End of October, a bestseller that has been optioned for Ridley Scott to direct.

In 2006, Wright premiered his first one-man play, My Trip to Al-Qaeda, at The New Yorker Festival, which led to a sold-out six-week run off-Broadway, before traveling to Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles. It was made into a documentary film of the same name, directed by Alex Gibney, for HBO.

Wright wrote and performed another one-man show, The Human Scale, about the standoff between Israel and Hamas over the abduction of an Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit. The Public Theater in New York produced the play, which ran for a month off-Broadway in 2010, before moving to the Cameri Theater in Tel Aviv.

In addition to his one-man productions, Wright has written five other plays that have enjoyed productions around the country, including Camp David, about the Carter, Begin, and Sadat summit in 1978; and Cleo, about the making of the movie Cleopatra.

Wright is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Society of American Historians, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He also serves as the keyboard player in the Austin-based blues band, WhoDo.

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March 22, 2023. Tilson Auditorium. 7:00 p.m.

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