Norman Mailer Biography

Norman Mailer Biography

Norman Mailer was one of the most famous novelists, journalists and film writers that America has ever produced. He is credited to be the creator of the nonfiction novel and a form of journalism that was a synthesis of reality, autobiography and political facts. Needless to say, he provoked a controversy through his works. As it remains, he is still considered to be one of the best journalists in America.


  • Norman Mailer was born to Jewish parents in Long Branch, New Jersey in 1923 but he grew up in Brooklyn.
  • It was while studying at Harvard that he realized his writing talents. While he was at Harvard, he wrote a story, “The Greatest Thing in the World”, which made him win the “Story” Magazine’s college contest.
  • However, his stint as a writer had already begun at the age of nine when he wrote a story called “Invasion from Mars”.
  • He served the U. S army during World War II as a cook and his experiences led to the book “The Naked and the Dead”.


  • Norman Mailer was particularly popular with the publication of his first novel “The Naked and the Dead”. In fact, it has been described as one of the best novels on the World War.
  • Mailer became famous as an essayist when he compiled his essay, “The White Negro”. This essay deals with the life of a black man who is caught in between the hipster culture and the civilized life.
  • He also wrote a column in the political weekly called “The Village Voice” that was popular in the Greenwich Village.
  • Mailer is also appreciated as a journalist with the publication of “The Armies of the Night”. This book deals with his experiences as an anti-Vietnam War activist in Washington and it made him win the Pulitzer Prize and also the National Book Award.
  • In his work, “The Executioner’s Song”, Norman Mailer tries to bring out the rise of violence in the society when he covered the life of the murderer, Gary Gilmore.
  • Mailer has also written a book about the activities of the CIA, titled “Harlot’s Ghost”.
  • His innumerable biographies include those on Pablo Picasso, Muhammad Ali, Gary Gilmore, Harvey Oswald and Marilyn Monroe. Out of this list, Marilyn Monroe’s biography created a lot of controversy. Still the fact remains that it was one of the biggest bestsellers after “The Naked Truth”.


Norman Mailer has won the Pulitzer Prize twice and the National Book Award once.

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