Discipline: Writer, fiction

Norman Mailer

Discipline: Writer, fiction
Region: New York, NY

Edward MacDowell Medalist: 1973

Normal Kingsley Mailer (1923-2007) was an American novelist, journalist, essayist, playwright, film-maker, actor, and liberal political activist. His novel The Naked and the Dead was published in 1948 and brought him renown. His best-known work is widely considered to be The Executioner's Song (1979) winner of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. Armies of the Night won the Pulitzer Prize for non-fiction and the National Book Award.

Along with Truman Capote, Joan Didion, Hunter S. Thompson, and Tom Wolfe, Mailer is considered an innovator of creative nonfiction, a genre sometimes called New Journalism, which uses the style and devices of literary fiction in fact-based journalism. Mailer was also known for his essays, the most famous and reprinted of which is "The White Negro." He was a cultural commentator and critic, expressing his views through his novels, journalism, essays, and frequent media appearances. In 1955, Mailer and three others founded The Village Voice, an arts- and politics-oriented weekly newspaper distributed in Greenwich Village. In 1969 he ran an unsuccessful campaign for the mayor of New York.

While principally known as a novelist and journalist, Mailer was not afraid to bend genres and venture outside his comfort zone; he lived a life that seemed to embody an idea that echoes throughout his work: "There was that law of life, so cruel and so just, that one must grow or else pay more for remaining the same."