“Violence is the last frontier in literature.”
— Norman Mailer, The Paris Review, 2007

Norman Mailer: A Double Life by J. Michael Lennon, Mailer archivist and authorized biographer will appear on Sunday, April 27, 3:00 – 5:00 pm. Call Partners to reserve a seat for this FREE writers series: 508-636-2572.

Norman Mailer’s answers to the Proust Questionnaire.


In 1963, a sixteen-year-old San Diego high school student named Bruce McAllister sent a four-question mimeographed survey to 150 well-known authors of literary, commercial, and science fiction. Did they consciously plant symbols in their work? he asked. Who noticed symbols appearing from their subconscious, and who saw them arrive in their text, unbidden, created in the minds of their readers? When this happened, did the authors mind?

Seventy-five writers replied.

Novelist, journalist, director, provocateur, pugilist — love him or hate him, Norman Mailer was an integral part of the culture of twentieth-century America. Posts about this American literary icon.

Submit your essays to the Norman Mailer Collection on Medium.

“What is genius but balance on the edge of the possible?” #NormanMailer

Gore Vidal, Kurt Vonnegut, Norman Mailer by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders.

Gore Vidal, Kurt Vonnegut, Norman Mailer by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders.

A Conversation with J. Michael Lennon by Phillip Sipiora.

J. Michael Lennon’s authorized biography, Norman Mailer: A Double Life, was published by Simon & Schuster on October 15, 2013. This interview took place over two days in late July 2013.

Sipiora: When and where did you meet Norman for the first time? What were your first impressions of him, both as a person and as a celebrated author?

Lennon: I met Norman in the early fall of 1972 at Western Illinois University in Macomb, Illinois. I had corresponded with him before that. I wrote to him after I saw him on the Dick Cavett show where he got into his famous fight with Gore Vidal, and felt impelled to tell him how much I thought he had been wronged by Vidal on the air. He wrote back and said that he was going to be speaking in Illinois not far from the University of Illinois-Springfield where I was teaching a Mailer seminar. So, several members of the seminar drove up with me to hear him speak. This was just before the election. McGovern was running against Nixon and the country was in ferment.

Read more on Medium.

When I was a little queerling (this was fifteen years ago now - okay, twenty…) Norman Mailer was considered the enemy of the gay community; always a macho posturer, Mailer had once allegedly made some offhand comment about how gay men had somehow taken the easy way out by opting not to be with women. Given the humourless tone of gay officialdom in those days (unlike today, he wrote, rolling his eyes so hard he almost gave himself a stroke) Mailer’s comment wasn’t even permitted enough context in which to grow, let alone be understood…