Join Lawrence Wright, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Looming Tower, and New Yorker editor Daniel Zalewski for a conversation on Wright's latest work: Going Clear, a revelatory book about the Church of Scientology, based on Wright's award-winning 2011 New Yorker cover story.
Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief is based on more than two hundred interviews with current and former Scientologists, as well as other sources. The book offers an exhaustive account of the church, from its founding by L. Ron Hubbard to its present-day leadership under David Miscavige.
Scientology plays an outsize role in the cast of new religions that have arisen in the twentieth century, and Wright seeks to answer the questions many people have about it: What is it that makes this religion alluring? What do its adherents get out of it? How can rational-seeming people subscribe to beliefs that others find incomprehensible? Why do popular personalities associate themselves with a faith that is likely to create public relations martyrdom?
During his three-year investigation, Wright was not only able to convince former members to discuss their separation from the church, he was also able to persuade current Scientologists to speak candidly about their experiences. He looks into the church's financial resources and examines their tax-exempt status. He presents startling new source material about its complex and controversial founder. And he examines the relationships of both Tom Cruise and John Travolta to the church.
Audience Q&A and book sale and signing to follow.
Lawrence Wright is a graduate of Tulane University and the American University in Cairo, where he spent two years teaching. He is a staff writer for The New Yorker, and the author of six previous books of nonfiction—City Children, Country Summer; In the New World; Saints and Sinners; Remembering Satan; and The Looming Tower—and a novel, God's Favorite. He received many honors for The Looming Tower, including the Pulitzer Prize, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the New York Public Library's Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism, among others. He is also a screenwriter and a playwright. He and his wife are longtime residents of Austin, Texas.
Daniel Zalewski is the features director of The New Yorker. He edits many staff writers, including Lawrence Wright, Jane Mayer and David Grann, and has published profiles of Werner Herzog, Ian McEwan, Christian Marclay and others.
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