Inaugural Meeting of the Norman Mailer Society

Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge

November 1, 2003
9 am to 5 pm

“The novelist … must live in paranoia and seek to be one with the world; he must be terrified of experience and hungry for it; he must think himself nothing and believe he is superior to it all.” ~Norman Mailer



Registration, coffee


Annual Society Business Meeting

  • Treasurer’s Report: David H. Light
  • Background, Approval of Minutes: J. Michael Lennon
  • Adoption of By-laws: John Whalen-Bridge
  • Elections: Barry H. Leeds
  • Honorary Members: Robert F. Lucid
  • Non-profit Status: J. Michael Lennon
  • Mission of Society: A Discussion Moderated by
  • Barry H. Leeds and John Whalen-Bridge
  • Web Page and Bibliography: John Whalen-Bridge
  • Future Meetings: J. Michael Lennon
  • New Business




Mailer and Magazines

  • Christopher Napolitano
  • Carol Polsgrove
  • Gay Talese
  • Barbara Probst Solomon, Moderator

12:00- 1:45

Keynote Luncheon Address

  • Ron Rosenbaum


Mailer and Film

  • Mickey Knox
  • Michael Mailer
  • Donn Pennebaker
  • Robert F. Lucid, Moderator




Working with Mailer

  • Jason Epstein
  • Lawrence Schiller
  • John Taylor “Ike” Williams
  • J. Michael Lennon, Moderator


Open Mike



JASON EPSTEIN — longtime editorial director at Random House, has long worked closely with Norman Mailer and other prominent authors. He founded Anchor books, The New York Review of Books, the Library of America, and The Reader’s Catalogue. Epstein is the author of the intellectual memoir, Book Business: Publishing, Past, Present and Future.

MICKEY KNOX — veteran Hollywood actor and film producer, introduced Mailer to Hollywood in 1949 and appeared in the 1967 New York production of “The Deer Park,” as well as such early Mailer films as Wild 90. Knox’s memoir of his film career, including his friendship with Norman Mailer, published by Nation Books, will appear early in 2004.

BARRY H. LEEDS — CSU Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Central Connecticut State University. His books include The Structured Vision of Norman Mailer (1969) and The Enduring Vision of Norman Mailer (2002). He is Interim Vice President of the Society.

J. MICHAEL LENNON — Professor of English at Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, PA., is the author/editor of five books by or about Norman Mailer, including Norman Mailer: Works and Days (with Donna Pedro Lennon). He serves as Mailer’s archivist and sometimes editor, and has interviewed Mailer in the documentary, “Norman Mailer: the Sanction to Write,” and produced “James Jones: Reveille to Taps.” He is Interim President of the Society.

DAVID LIGHT — Interim Treasurer of the Norman Mailer Society, is an avid, expert, and long-time admirer and collector of Mailer’s works. A former teacher of high school English, he is currently the Principal of Scituate High School in Rhode Island.

ROBERT LUCID — Mailer’s authorized biographer. Among his many writings on Mailer are his editions of Norman Mailer: The Man and His Work and The Long Patrol: 25 Years of Writing from the Work of Norman Mailer. He is on the English faculty at the University of Pennsylvania, and the Board of the Society.

MICHAEL MAILER — eldest son of Norman Mailer, is a well-known film producer and screenwriter. His recent credits include “Lost Junction” (2003), “Harvard Man” (2002), “Empire” (2002), “The Final Hit” (2000), and “Black and White” (1999).

CHRISTOPHER NAPOLITANO — features editor at Playboy, he is also overseeing both the fiction department and the fashion pages at the magazine. He recently edited Norman Mailer’s forthcoming Playboy essay, “Immodest Proposals” (January 2004).

DONN PENNEBAKER — is the independent film producer of such major films as the Bob Dylan “Don’t Look Back” in 1967. He shot the film for Norman Mailer’s cinema verite “Maidstone” in 1968, and in 1971 filmed “Town Bloody Hall,” featuring Norman Mailer and Germain Greer. He currently makes films with his three sons and his wife, Chris Hegedus, in New York.

CAROL POLSGROVE — a writer and former magazine editor, is author of It Wasn’t Pretty, Folks, But Didn’t We Have Fun? Surviving the ’60’s with Esquire’s Harold Hayes, and Divided Minds: Intellectuals and the Civil Rights Movement. She has been an editor at Mother Jones and the Progressive magazines and is now a journalism professor at Indiana University in Bloomington.

RON ROSENBAUM — formerly of The Village Voice, is the author of Explaining Hitler and Travels with Dr. Death. He is now a columnist for The New York Observer, where he recently published “Mailer Was the Rage,” a celebrated assessment of Norman Mailer’s literary achievement.

LAWRENCE SCHILLER — a benefactor of the Society, is a frequent collaborator with Norman Mailer on such significant works as The Executioner’s Song, Oswald’s Tale and Master Spy: The Robert Hanssen Story. He is an Emmy award-winning producer and co-author of American Tragedy, about the O.J. Simpson case.

BARBARA PROBST SOLOMON — her books include the novels The Beat of Life, Smart Hearts in the City, Short Flights, the prize-winning memoir Arriving Where We Started, the essay collection Horse Trading and Ecstasy. Her memoir/documentary “When the War Was Over” won the Lancelot Law Whyte award for best social documentary of the year. She is on the faculty of Sarah Lawrence College and City College, and is the editor of the literary journal The Reading Room.

GAY TALESE — preeminent journalist and non-fiction writer, is author of the acclaimed “Unto the Sons,” which possesses what Norman Mailer called “The sweep and detail of a grand 19th-century novel.” Earlier Talese best-sellers include Honor Thy Father and Thy Neighbor’s Wife. He shares Mailer’s interest in boxing and is strongly associated with the beginnings of “The New Journalism.”

JOHN WHALEN-BRIDGE — Associate Professor in the Department of English Language and Literature at the National University of Singapore. He is author of Political Fiction and the American Self (which has a chapter on Harlot’s Ghost) and the recent Dictionary of Literary Biography entry on Norman Mailer. He is Interim Secretary of the Norman Mailer Society.

JOHN TAYLOR “IKE” WILLIAMS — former Little, Brown editor, is a well-known literary agent and publishing lawyer with Fish and Richardson, one of the nation’s leading law firms in this field.