2010 - 2011 Cline Visiting Professor
Cline Centennial Visiting Professor: Lawrence Wright
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, 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 published a number of notable articles, which have won him the National Magazine Award for Reporting as well as the John Bartlow Martin Award for Public Interest Magazine Journalism, and Overseas Press Club’s Ed Cunningham Award for best magazine reporting.
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. He is currently working on a script for Ridley Scott.
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. The NYU School of Journalism recently honored the book as one of the ten best works of journalism in the previous decade.
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 has been made into a documentary film, directed by Academy Award-winner Alex Gibney, and will premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in April.
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 is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He also serves as the keyboard player in the Austin-based blues band, Who Do.
(Courtesy of Mr. Wright's official web site.)