Lawrence Wright: Online

Kenny Braun

Journalism Icon


Lawrence Wright: Online

Past Event: Tuesday, February 9, 2021


Lawrence Wright is an author, screenwriter, playwright, and a staff writer for The New Yorker. At the magazine, Wright has written “some of the most astonishing journalism of our time,” according to journalist David Remnick, including reporting on al-Qaeda that shaped his Pulitzer Prize-winning book, The Looming Tower. Now, Wright presents the pandemic thriller The End of October, as packed with suspense as it is with the fascinating history of viral diseases.

Although this event has passed, you can still purchase a digital pass through February 16 at 7:30 p.m.

This event is online-only.

In Wright’s riveting medical thriller, The End of October, Dr. Henry Parsons – an unlikely but appealing hero – races to find the origins and cure of a mysterious new killer virus as it brings the world to its knees. Written before the COVID-19 pandemic, Wright gives us a full-tilt, electrifying, one-of-a-kind thriller that predicted our current reality with eerie precision.

Wright 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 (2000) and eight nonfiction books, including City Children, Country Summer (1979), In the New World: Growing Up with America, 1960-1984 (1988), Saints & Sinners (1993), Remembering Satan (1994), and Twins; Genes, Environment, and the Mystery of Identity (1997).

The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 (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 pronounced it one of the 100 best nonfiction books ever written. Wright is also currently producing (with director Alex Gibney and show runner Dan Futterman) a dramatic television series for Hulu based on The Looming Tower.

Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief (2013), also a New York Times bestseller, was nominated for the National Book Award and won the Investigative Reporters and Editors Award. Wright co-produced a 2015 documentary for HBO, Going Clear, based on the book. It won many awards, including the Alfred I. du-Pont-Columbia award and three Emmys, including best documentary. 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.

Event Details

Know Before You Go

Need access to the digital event?

Most tickets have been emailed for Wright’s event, so be sure to check your inbox for an email from [email protected]. Call us at 206-621-2230 x10 if you can’t find them.

Your e-tickets, which come attached in a PDF with your ticket order confirmation email as well, will contain your digital access password. Return to the event page the night of the event at and enter the password where prompted. The program begins at 7:30 p.m. (PST) and will be available for viewing for a week after the event.

SAL will also send an email the day of the event, containing the same information. If you have opted out of receiving SAL emails, you will miss this important information—please email us at [email protected] and we will assist you.

Have a question for the speaker?

Want to ask Lawrence Wright something? Send your question to SAL’s Associate Director at [email protected]—it might be asked during the event!


Our bookstore partner for this event, Phinney Books, has copies of Wright’s work available for purchase—call or visit their store!


Closed Captioning is an option for people who have hearing loss, where captioning displays the words that are spoken or sung at the bottom of the video. Captioning is available for all online events; click the “CC” button to view captions during the event.

Sign Language Interpretation is available upon request for Deaf, DeafBlind, and hard of hearing individuals at online events. To make a request for ASL interpretation, please contact us at [email protected] or 206.621.2230×10, or select Sign Language Interpretation from the Accessibility section during your ticket checkout process, and we will reach out to you to confirm details. Please note: we appreciate a two-week advance notice to allow us time to secure interpretation.

We are pleased to offer these accessibility services for online events, and they are provided at no additional cost to ticket holders. Please contact us with any questions and feedback about how we can be more accessible and inclusive. Our Patron Services Manager is available at [email protected], or Monday-Friday from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. at 206.621.2230×10. For more accessibility information, please head to


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