Lawrence Weschler, a graduate of Cowell College of the University of California, Santa Cruz, has been, since the early ’80s, a staff writer for The New Yorker, where his work has shuttled between political tragedies and cultural comedies. He is a two-time winner of the George Polk Award (for Cultural Reporting in 1988 and Magazine Reporting in 1992) and was recently granted a Lannan Literary Award. His books of political reportage include “The Passion of Poland” (1984); “A Miracle, A Universe: Settling Accounts with Torturers” (1990); “Calamities of Exile: Three Nonfiction Novellas” (1998), and the forthcoming “Vermeer in Bosnia.” His “Passions and Wonders” series currently comprises “Seeing is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees: A Life of Contemporary Artist Robert Irwin” (1982); “David Hockney’s Cameraworks” (1984); “Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonders” (1995); “A Wanderer in the Perfect City: Selected Passion Pieces” (1998); and “Boggs: A Comedy of Values” (1999). He has taught, variously, at Princeton, Columbia, UCSC, Bard, Vassar, and Sarah Lawrence, and is a contributing editor of McSweeney’s and Threepenny Review.