Pulitzer Prize Recipient Twice, Author. He received world-wide acclaim as an American novelist and journalist of the 20th century, excelling in writings that dealt with social and political unrest of his era, and often wrote in a harsh rhetoric. In 1968 he authored “The Armies of the Night: History as a Novel, the Novel as History,” which he was the recipient of the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize on non-fiction. The book was based on the October of 1967 Washington D.C. peace march to end the Vietnam War, in which he participated, was arrested for civil disobedience, and fined. In 1979 he wrote, “The Executioner's Song,” for which he was a recipient of his second Pulitzer Prize for non-fiction in 1980. The book was a biography of murderer Gary Gilmore with his sentence of death by a firing squad. Before coming to the United States, his grandparents came from Russia by the way of South Africa where his father, Isaac, was born. He never knew his Russian surname but knew “Mailer” was not his family's original name. His father was an accountant and his mother managed a nursing agency. After having a childhood in Brooklyn, New York, he graduated in 1943 from Harvard University with a Science Degree in Aeronautical Engineering. Drafted into the Army in 1944, he served in the Philippines during World War II in the 112th Cavalry, an infantry regiment, at the rank of a sergeant as both intelligence clerk and combat reconnaissance rifleman. From his war experiences, he wrote his third and very successful novel, “The Naked and the Dead” in 1948. After the war, he attended the University Sorbonne in Paris, France, which was funded by the G. I. Bill, returning to the United States in mid-1950. At this point, he was one of the three founders of the weekly newspaper “Village Voice,” which was the first publication to addressed the liberal culture of New York City and later becoming an award-winning periodical. From this he went on to become a columnist for the men's magazine, “Esquire,” along with several other magazines read world-wide. Receiving mixed reviews from critics, his next four novels were politically inspired: “Barbary Shore” in 1951, “The Deer Park” in 1955, “An American Dream” in 1965, and “Why Are We in Vietnam” in 1967. His long essay of 1957, “The White Negro,” was an important political piece. Using what was called “new journalism,” he wrote on subjects from his perspective, incorporating interviews from other prominent people as a means to support his sometimes radical opinion, thus making it appear as the truth. In addressing the issues of the 1960s, he wrote in 1963 about President Kennedy, “The Presidential Papers; in 1966 “Cannibals and Christians;” in 1968 about political conventions, “Miami and the Siege of Chicago;” and in 1971 “The Prisoner of Sex.” In 1971 he wrote “Of a Fire on the Moon,” which was on the subject of man's first moon landing, and in 1991 he wrote“Harlot's Ghost,” a fictional review of the CIA and Cuban missile crisis of the 1960s. In 1995 he wrote biographies “Picasso As A Young Man” and “Oswald's Tale: An American Mystery. In 1997, he wrote “The Gospel According to the Son,” which was written in first-person as if Jesus was speaking, and in 2007 he wrote “The Castle in the Forest,” a narrative by Satan about Adolf Hitler's childhood. Other biographies were “Marilyn Monroe,” “Muhammad Ali, “ Henry Miller,”and “Madonna.” In 1982 using his award-winning book “The Executioner's Song,” he wrote a screenplay; he wrote a total of five screenplays. Becoming involved with the film industry, the 1987 film “Tough Guys Don't Dance” was based on his 1984 novel with the same name. Besides the award-winning book “Armies of the Night,” five of this books were nominated for the National Book Awards. In 2006, he was recognized by the National Book Awards for his many contributions to literature and culture with a Lifetime Achievement Award. He published in 1962 a book of poetry, “Deaths for the Ladies and Other Disasters.” In 1969 he was an unsuccessful candidate for Mayor of New York City. Besides the Pulitzer's Prizes, he received the American Academy Grant in 1960, MacDowell Medal in 1973, National Arts Club Gold Medal in 1976, and a Degree of Letters from Rutgers University in New Jersey. He was a prolific writer with forty books in fiction and non-fiction, poems and screenplays, essays and some literary genres that he invented. He married six times, with once for only 24 hours, the last time for thirty years and was the father of eight children. He died of renal failure.
Bio by: Linda Davis
THERE IS THAT LAW OF LIFE, SO CRUEL AND SO JUST
THAT ONE MUST GROW OR ELSE PAY MORE
FOR REMAINING THE SAME
~ NORMAN MAILER ~