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Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author to Discuss Experiences Chronicling the History of Al-Qaeda

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posted: Wednesday March 16, 2011

Event: Lawrence Wright, author, playwright and staff writer for the New Yorker magazine, will discuss and sign his Pulitzer Prize-winning book "The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11" at The University of Texas at Austin.

When: 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 29

Where: Avaya Auditorium, Applied Computational Engineering & Sciences (ACES) Building. A campus map is available online.

Background: Lawrence Wright, the Humanities Institute's 2010-11 Cline Visiting Professor in the Humanities, will discuss his experiences as a journalist in the Middle East. The event is part of the Difficult Dialogues public discussion series, hosted by the Humanities Institute at The University of Texas at Austin.

In "The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11," Wright describes how al-Qaeda came into being, the background for various terrorist attacks and the events that led to the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States. Based on five years of research and hundreds of interviews, Wright provides a detailed account of the terrorist plans and the Western intelligence failures that culminated in the assault on the United States.

In addition to winning the Pulitzer Prize in 2007, "The Looming Tower" was a National Book Award finalist and was chosen as one of 2007's 10 best books by both The New York Times and the Washington Post. In 2010 the book was adapted into a documentary, which combines footage from Wright's interviews with his sources, many of whom have ties to al-Qaeda, with scenes from his one-man, off-Broadway play "My Trip to Al-Qaeda."

Wright's presentation will conclude with responses by Jason Brownlee, associate professor of government and expert on Egypt, and Glenn Frankel, director of the School of Journalism and former Washington Post editor and foreign correspondent. A question and answer session, book signing and reception will follow the lecture. The event is free and open to the public.

The Cline Visiting Professorship is made possible through the vision and generosity of the late Professor C.L. and Henriette F. Cline.

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