Lawrence Wright at the LBJ Presidential Library, 2013
|Born||August 2, 1947|
|Notable work(s)||The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11|
|Notable award(s)||Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction (2007)|
Lawrence Wright (born August 2, 1947) is a Pulitzer Prize-winning American author, screenwriter, staff writer for The New Yorker magazine, and fellow at the Center for Law and Security at the New York University School of Law. Wright is best known as the author of the 2006 nonfiction book The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11.
Background and education
Wright graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School in Dallas, Texas, in 1965 and, in 2009, was inducted into the school's Hall of Fame. He is a graduate of Tulane University and taught English at the American University in Cairo in Egypt for two years, receiving his MA degree in applied linguistics in 1969.
The Looming Tower
Wright is the author of six books but is best known for his 2006 publication, The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11. A quick bestseller, The Looming Tower was awarded the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize, the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction, and is frequently referenced by media pundits as an excellent source of background information on Al Qaeda and the September 11 attacks. The book's title is a phrase from the Quran 4:78: "Wherever you are, death will find you, even in the looming tower," which Osama bin Laden quoted three times in a videotaped speech seen as directed to the 9/11 hijackers.
Wright had previously written a profile of former Scientologist Paul Haggis for The New Yorker. Wright's book on Scientology, Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief was published in January 2013. The book contains interviews from current and former Scientologists, and examines the history and leadership of the organisation. In an interview for the New York Times Wright disclosed that he has received "innumerable" letters threatening legal action from lawyers representing the church and celebrities who belong to it. Wright spoke to two hundred current and former Scientologists for the book. The Church published an official statement in its newsroom and a blog listing its refutations of Wright's claims.
Among Wright's other books is Remembering Satan: A Tragic Case of Recovered Memory (1994), about the Paul Ingram false memory case. On June 7, 1996, Wright testified at Ingram's pardon hearing.
Wright also co-wrote the screenplay for the film The Siege (1998), which tells the story of a terrorist attack in New York City that leads to curtailed civil liberties and rounding up of Arab-Americans. A script that Wright originally wrote for Oliver Stone was turned instead into a well-regarded Showtime movie, Noriega: God's Favorite (2000).
A documentary featuring Wright, My Trip to Al-Qaeda, premiered on HBO in September 2010. It was based on his journeys and experiences in the Middle East during his research for The Looming Tower. My Trip to Al-Qaeda covers topics ranging from the current state of the regime in Saudi Arabia to the historic underpinnings of 9/11.
Awards and honors
- 2013 National Book Critics Circle Award (Nonfiction) shortlist for Going Clear
- 2006 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for The Looming Tower
- 2006 New York Times bestseller for The Looming Tower
- 2006 New York Times Notable Book of the Year for The Looming Tower
- 2006 New York Times Best Books of the Year for The Looming Tower
- 2006 IRE Award for The Looming Tower
- 2006 National Book Award finalist for The Looming Tower
- 2006 Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist for The Looming Tower
- 2006 Time magazine's Best Books of the Year for The Looming Tower
- 2007 Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction for The Looming Tower
- 2007 Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism for The Looming Tower
- 2007 J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize for The Looming Tower
- 2007 Lionel Gelber Prize for The Looming Tower
- 2007 Arthur Ross Book Award shortlist for The Looming Tower
- 2007 PEN Center USA Literary Award (Research Nonfiction) for The Looming Tower
- 2009 Newsweek 50 Books for Our Times for The Looming Tower
- City Children, Country Summer: A Story of Ghetto Children Among the Amish. Scribner. 1979. ISBN 978-0-684-16144-0.
- In the New World: Growing up in America, 1964-1984. Alfred A. Knopf. 1987. ISBN 978-0-394-75964-7.
- Saints and Sinners. Alfred A. Knopf. 1993. ISBN 978-0-679-76163-1.
- Remembering Satan: A Tragic Case of Recovered Memory. Vintage Books. 1994. ISBN 978-0-679-75582-1.
- Twins: And What They Tell Us About Who We Are. John Wiley & Sons. 1999. ISBN 978-0-471-29644-7.
- God's Favorite: A Novel. Simon and Schuster. 2000. ISBN 978-0-684-86810-3.
- The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11. Alfred A. Knopf. 2006. ISBN 978-0-375-41486-2.
- Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief. Alfred A. Knopf. 2013. ISBN 978-0-307-70066-7.
- Camp David (premiering at Arena Stage (Washington, D.C.) in March, 2014)
- Wright, Lawrence (September 20, 2010). "The Talk of the Town: Comment: Intolerance". The New Yorker 86 (28): 47–48. Retrieved 21 December 2011.
- Wright, Lawrence (February 14, 2011). "Reporting & Essays: Profiles: The Apostate, Paul Haggis vs. the Church of Scientology". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2 January 2013.
- Unmuth, Katherine Leal (April 26, 2009). "Alumni gather to celebrate Woodrow Wilson High's 80th anniversary". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved August 21, 2010.
- "Lawrence Wright: About". Retrieved 2013-09-17.
- "J. Anthony Lukas Prize Project winners". Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. Retrieved 16 March 2011.
- Wright, Lawrence (2006). The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11. New York: Knopf. p. 350. ISBN 978-0-375-41486-2.
- Thornton, Kim (2012-11-17). "Lawrence Wright’s Book on Church of Scientology Coming in January". Knopf Publishers.
- Mcgrath, Charles (3 January 2013). "Scientology Fascinates the Author Lawrence Wright". The New York Times.
- "Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief: How Lawrence Wright Got it So Wrong". 2013-11-28.
- Church of Scientology International (2013-01-13). "Statement on Lawrence Wright’s book". Retrieved 2013-11-29.
- Church of Scientology International (2013). "How Lawrence Wright Got It So Wrong: A Correction of the Falsehoods in Lawrence Wright's Book on Scientology". Retrieved 2013-11-29.
- Amos, Deborah (2007-03-30). "Lawrence Wright's 'Trip to Al-Qaeda'". National Public Radio.
- Kirsten Reach (January 14, 2014). "NBCC finalists announced". Melville House Publishing. Retrieved January 14, 2014.
- Admin (January 14, 2014). "Announcing the National Book Critics Awards Finalists for Publishing Year 2013". National Book Critics Circle. Retrieved January 14, 2014.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Lawrence Wright.|
- Lawrence Wright at The New Yorker
- Wright on NPR
- The Looming Tower Reviews at Metacritic
- AuthorViews video interview about The Looming Tower
- Audio of Paul Ingram Pardon Hearing
- Lawrence Wright articles at Byliner
- Lawrence Wright Interview: Conversations with History; Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley
- Reporting The Bin Laden Beat, Journalist Lawrence Wright Knows More About Al Qaeda's Leader Than Many CIA Operatives
- Lawrence Wright interviewed on Charlie Rose