Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Norman Mailer

Norman Kingsley Mailer, (born January 31, 1923) is an American writer and innovator of the nonfictional novel.

Norman Mailer was born in Long Branch, New Jersey. He was brought up in Brooklyn and began attending Harvard University in 1939. At the university he became interested in writing and published his first story when he was 18.

Mailer joined the Army in World War II and served in the South Pacific. In 1948, just before enrolling in the Sorbonne, in Paris, France, he wrote a book that made him world-famous, The Naked and the Dead which was based on his personal experiences during World War II. It was hailed by many as one of the best American novels to come out of WWII.

After the war, Mailer worked as a scriptwriter in Hollywood. Much of his work was refused by many publishers. But in the mid 1950s he became famous as an anti-establishment essayist. In stories like The White Negro: Superficial Reflections on the Hipster (1956) and Advertisement for Myself (1959), Mailer examined violence, hysteria, crime, and confusion in the American society.

Other famous works include: Why Are We in Vietnam? (1967), Armies of the Night (1968), (awarded a Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award), Miami and the Siege of Chicago (1968), Of a Fire on the Moon (1970), The Prisoner of Sex (1971), The Executioner's Song (1979), (awarded a Pulitzer Prize) and Harlot's Ghost (1991).

In 2001, his book The Naked and the Dead was listed as one of the hundred best English-language novels of the 20th century by the editorial board of the American Modern Library.

Norman Mailer has been married six times and has nine children.