Thanks to the cooperation of the National Book Critics Circle (NBCC) and The School of Writing at The New School, as well as the tireless efforts of our students and faculty, we are able to provide interviews with each of the NBCC Awards Finalists for the publishing year 2013.
Eric Dean Wilson, on behalf of the School of Writing at The New School and the NBCC, interviewed Lawrence Wright, via phone, about his book Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief (Knopf), which is among the final five selections, in the category of Nonfiction, for the 2013 NBCC awards.
From the Publisher: Scientology presents itself as a scientific approach to spiritual enlightenment, but its practices have long been shrouded in mystery. Now Lawrence Wright—armed with his investigative talents, years of archival research, and more than two hundred personal interviews with current and former Scientologists—uncovers the inner workings of the church. We go inside their specialized cosmology and language. We learn about the church’s legal attacks on the IRS, its vindictive treatment of critics, and its phenomenal wealth. We see the church court celebrities such as Tom Cruise while consigning its clergy to hard labor under billion-year contracts. Through it all, Wright asks what fundamentally comprises a religion, and if Scientology in fact merits this Constitutionally-protected label. Brilliantly researched, compellingly written, Going Clear pulls back the curtain on one of the most secretive organizations at work today.
Lawrence Wright is a staff writer for The New Yorker. He is the author of a novel, God’s Favorite, and has also authored six previous books of nonfiction—City Children, Country Summer; In the New World; Saints and Sinners; Remembering Satan; Twins; and The Looming Tower. The Looming Tower received many awards, 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. He is also a screenwriter and a playwright. He and his wife are longtime residents of Austin, Texas.
Eric Dean Wilson is a second-year MFA Creative Writing student in Nonfiction. His work has recently appeared in Los Angeles Review of Books, BOMBlog, Seneca Review, Ninth Letter, and elsewhere. He is currently working on a collection of essays around the fear of death.