Lawrence Wright, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book and new Hulu series "The Looming Tower," spoke about his personal experiences in investigative reporting tonight in Whitley Auditorium at Elon University.
Wright is currently a staff writer for The New Yorker. He has published 10 books on topics ranging from Scientology to satanic rituals to Al-Qaeda.
Elon students and community members came to hear Wright speak about how to write and report. Speaking metaphorically about his writing process, Wright shared about using “donkeys” in his stories. He defined a "donkey" as source that can explain a story from a new perspective to better engage the reader.
One "donkey" he used to report on the Church of Scientology was Paul Haggis. Haggis, Canadian screenwriter and producer best known for "Million Dollar Baby," left the Church of Scientology in 2009 after being a member for 35 years.
Before reporting on the church of scientology, Wright mentored journalism students in Saudi Arabia and reported on Al Qaeda.
“My wife was more worried about scientology than she was about Al-Qaeda,” Wright said.
In "The Looming Tower," Wright interviewed more than 500 people. A notable source was one of Osama bin Laden's brothers as a frequent contact.
Wright's objectives as a journalist are to expose the most interesting aspects of humanity.
“I want to find stories that are set inside a world that I don’t understand,” Wright said.
At the end of the night, Wright opened up the floor for the audience to ask questions. Students asked questions about his recent screenwriting, his reporting process and about narrative writing.