Lawrence Wright is an author, screenwriter, staff writer for The New Yorker magazine, and fellow at the Center for Law and Security at the New York University School of Law.
The U.S. has only 4% of the world's population — and yet it accounts for 20% of all COVID deaths. 'New Yorker' writer Lawrence Wright discusses America's "plague year." We'll talk about the mishandling of the outbreak and his novel 'The End of October,' about a deadly pandemic.
The first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine mark what we hope will be the beginning of the end of the global pandemic. The speed of vaccine development has been truly unprecedented, but this breakthrough is taking place at a moment when the U.S. death toll has also reached a new peak—over three thousand per day. How was the response to such a clear danger mismanaged so tragically? The New Yorker staff writer Lawrence Wright—who has reported on Al Qaeda and the Church of Scientology—has followed the story of the pandemic unfolding in the United States since the first lockdowns in March. Wright walks David Remnick through key moments of decision-making in the Trump White House: from the response to the first reports of a virus to botched mask mandates and testing rollouts, up through the emergency-use authorization of the vaccine. The Trump Administration bears much responsibility for the bungled response to the coronavirus pandemic, but Wright also finds ample evidence of larger, systemic breakdown. “The magnitude of our failure,” he tells David Remnick, “is unparalleled.” 
From December 23rd to January 1st, we will be showcasing our most notable conversations of the year. Today’s show: New Yorker staff writer Lawrence Wright was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for “The Looming Tower,” his nonfiction book chronicling the rise of al-qaeda. And with a new novel, he’s once again chillingly prescient. Wright joins host Krys Boyd to talk about his fiction focused on a pandemic upending the world, written months and months before our current crisis. The book is called “The End of October: A Novel.”
Novelist Lawrence Wright shares his new thriller, The End of October , about a viral pandemic that upends the world—written uncannily before COVID-19. His research for the novel led him to work with virologists and infectious disease experts who are currently developing vaccines for COVID-19.
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Creator Details

Aug 2nd, 1947
Episode Count
Podcast Count
Total Airtime
20 hours, 31 minutes
Podchaser Creator ID logo 867292