Norman Mailer Society

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Norman Mailer Society
Named afterNorman Mailer
FoundersJ. Michael Lennon, Barry H. Leeds, John Whalen-Bridge, and Robert Lucid
Founded atNew York
Registration no.201724164
Legal status501 (c) (3) non-profit organization
PurposeTo stimulate and encourage interest in the works of Norman Mailer.[1]
Membership (2017)
Maggie McKinley
Vice President
Gerald Lucas
Matt Hinton
Marc Triplett
Neil Abercrombie, Robert Begiebing, Justin Bozung, Philip Bufithis, Ezra Cappell, Bonnie Culver, Nicole DePolo, Carol Holmes Alpern, J. Michael Lennon, David Light, John Buffalo Mailer, Susan Mailer, Jason Mosser, Mark Olshaker, Lawrence Schiller, Phillip Sipiora, Enid Stubin, Barbara Wasserman, Shannon Zinck

The Norman Mailer Society is a non-profit literary society dedicated to American author Norman Mailer. The Society promotes the legacy of its eponym by holding an annual meeting of scholars and enthusiasts, publishing The Mailer Review, Project Mailer, and The NMS Podcast, awarding the Robert F. Lucid Award for the year's best scholarship, and encouraging continued interest in his work through all forms of media.


On July 11, 2002, J. Michael Lennon, Barry H. Leeds, and John Whalen-Bridge met Norman Mailer in Provincetown, Massachusetts to discuss the creation of the organization and gain Mailer's approval.[2][3] Mailer's biographer Robert Lucid could not attend, but he was one of the original quartet planning the Society. Having received Mailer's blessing, the Norman Mailer Society was officially founded in 2003.[4][5] During the American Literature Association's conference in Cambridge on May 22, 2003, there was a planning meeting and interim officers elected for the Norman Mailer Society.[6]

On November 1, 2003, the Society had its inaugural meeting in Brooklyn prompted in part as a reaction to Mailer's being dropped from the sixth edition of The Norton Anthology of American Literature because (according to the editors) "regular surveys of professors had shown declining use of Mr. Mailer's work".[7] Ron Rosenbaum, a New York Observer columnist, commented about the creation of the Society: "It's good to recognize people for their service while they're still around to appreciate it".[7]

Non-profit incorporation papers were filed in the State of New York, July 21, 2004, and were approved on September 14, 2004.[citation needed] The Society was incorporated in Windham, Connecticut in 2008.[8]

At the 2017 conference, J. Michael Lennon and David Light stepped down as President and Treasurer respectively. The Board unanimously elected former-VP Maggie McKinley, chair of the English Department at Harper College, as President.[9] Gerald Lucas (Professor of English at Middle Georgia State University) became VP and Jason Mosser (Professor of English at Georgia Gwinnett College) replaced Light as Treasurer.[10]


Mailer and Lawrence Schiller at the 2006 conference

Members meet annually for paper presentations, panel discussions, film viewings, and other activities centered around the life and work of Norman Mailer.[1] In 2015, the Society reconvened in Provincetown, MA, for its annual conference, bringing together Society members, two of Mailer's daughters, and a reading of Tough Guys Don't Dance, Mailer's 1984 novel about his adopted hometown.[11][12] In addition to an annual meeting, the Society undertakes the following activities: the maintaining of a website devoted to matters of interest to the membership, including a newsletter and bibliography updated semi-annually.[1] Along with Provincetown and Brooklyn, conferences have been held in Washington (D.C.), Wilkes-Barre (PA),[13] Long Branch (NJ),[14] Sarasota (FL),[15] and Macon (GA).[16]

Norman and Norris hosted Society members at post-conference parties, in 2003 at their house in Brooklyn Heights, and 2004 through 2007 at their Provincetown, MA residence.[17] According to Lennon, the Mailers hosted keynote speakers at their house each year for lunch, including Neil Abercrombie and William Kennedy.[17] At the 2006 conference in Provincetown, Mailer read from his new novel, The Castle in the Forest, at the Provincetown Arts Theatre to a packed house of conference attendees and the general public.[18]

The Society sponsored the 50th Anniversary March on the Pentagon that Mailer wrote about in his Pulitzer-Prize-winning book Armies of the Night. Organized by the Vietnam Peace Commemoration Committee, the events took place on October 24, 2017 in Washington D.C.[19]

On May 23, 2018, the Society co-sponsored with the city of Long Branch the installation of a bronze memorial to Mailer and the Scarboro Hotel.[20] The hotel was run and eventually owned by the Mailer family until it burned down in 1941. Members of the Society and the local community attended the unveiling ceremony where the beachside hotel used to stand.[21]


During the fourth annual conference in Provincetown (October 12–14, 2006), the membership voted to establish the brainchild of Phillip Sipiora, The Mailer Review, co-sponsored by the University of South Florida and edited by Sipiora and co-edited by Gerald Lucas.[22][23] The journal is published annually in the fall.

In 2014 under the leadership of board member Gerald R. Lucas, the Society launched Project Mailer, a Digital Humanities initiative to "augment Mailer Studies for a digital age".[24] Their first publication was an open-access, digital version of Mike Lennon's Norman Mailer: Works and Days that's "meant to be read and used on the screen".[25]

Created and hosted by Society member Justin Bozung, The Norman Mailer Society Podcast had its premiere episode in February 2015.[26] The Podcast is released twice monthly and features rare audio, interviews, analysis, and discussions about, as James Wolcott put it, the "wooly-bully exploits" of Norman Mailer.[27]

In spring 2018, the Society sponsored the publication of Library of America's two-volume boxed set Norman Mailer: the Sixties edited by J. Michael Lennon.[28] The set includes Four Books of the 1960s and Collected Essays of the 1960s.

Robert F. Lucid Award[edit]

In 2003, the Society established The Robert F. Lucid Award for Mailer Studies in recognition of Lucid's long and distinguished career as a Mailer scholar. The Lucid Award is given annually based on the recommendation of a Society committee. The winner receives a plaque and a $250 honorarium, and he or she is invited to speak at the conference.[29] Recent winners include Maggie McKinley for Understanding Norman Mailer in 2018, Kevin Schultz for Buckley and Mailer: The Difficult Friendship that Shaped the Sixties in 2015,[30] the Society's own president J. Michael Lennon for The Selected Letters of Norman Mailer in 2014,[31][32] and again for Norman Mailer: A Double Life in 2013.[33]


Society membership is open to all who share an interest in the Society's eponym.[1] The Society consists of officers, an Executive Board, and general members from diverse backgrounds. They range from enthusiasts, academics, creatives, and politicians to family members and contemporaries of Mailer's. As of 2017, the Society has approximately 300 international members.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "NMS By-Laws". Norman Mailer Society. 2010. Retrieved September 9, 2017.
  2. ^ Leeds, Barry H. (2008). "The Death of Norman Mailer: The Birth of the Norman Mailer Society". The Mailer Review. 2 (1): 135–37. Retrieved March 20, 2017.
  3. ^ Whalen-Bridge, John (2008). "Q&A in 1984 with Norman Mailer". The Mailer Review. 2 (1): 199–202. Retrieved April 28, 2019.
  4. ^ Wolcott, James (June 2010). "The Norman Conquests". Vanity Fair. Retrieved April 12, 2017.
  5. ^ Light, David (2008). "From a Novelist in Waiting". The Mailer Review. 2 (1): 144–45. Retrieved September 9, 2017.
  6. ^ Lennon, J. Michael (May 22, 2003). "Minutes of the First Meeting of the Norman Mailer Society". Project Mailer. The Norman Mailer Society. Retrieved March 20, 2017.
  7. ^ a b Lee, Flora (November 9, 2003). "Another Advertisement for Mailer". The New York Times. Retrieved April 10, 2017.
  8. ^ "Norman Mailer Society in Windham, Connecticut (CT)". Nonprofit Facts. 2008. Retrieved September 9, 2017.
  9. ^ "Buzz". Provincetown Arts. 2018. p. 35. Retrieved September 25, 2018.
  10. ^ a b "About the Norman Mailer Society". Retrieved March 29, 2018.
  11. ^ Wood, Ann (September 25, 2015). "Mailer Society Brings 'Tough Guys' Home". Barnstable Patriot. Retrieved April 27, 2017.
  12. ^ "P-town Hosts Mailer Conference". Boston Globe. New England Literary News. September 27, 2015. Retrieved May 26, 2019.
  13. ^ "Wilkes will host Norman Mailer conference". The Citizens' Voice. October 3, 2014. Retrieved November 16, 2018.
  14. ^ Blackmon, Mark (September 16, 2016). "Norman Mailer Society to Hold Annual Conference at Monmouth University, Sept. 29-Oct. 1". Monmouth University. Monmouth Now. Retrieved November 16, 2018.
  15. ^ Melendez, Barbara (October 23, 2013). "All About Mailer". University of South Florida. News. Retrieved November 16, 2018.
  16. ^ "MGA Professor Promotes Norman Mailer Society Conference Scheduled For Macon". Middle Georgia State University. August 20, 2018. Retrieved November 16, 2018.
  17. ^ a b Lennon, J. Michael (2013). Norman Mailer: A Double Life. New York: Simon and Schuster. p. 732. OCLC 873006264.
  18. ^ Brady, James (October 26, 2006). "Norman Mailer's 'Castle'". Forbes. Retrieved November 17, 2018.
  19. ^ "October 20–21 Event: From Protest to Resistance". Vietnam Peace Commemoration Committee. 2017. Retrieved March 29, 2018.
  20. ^ "Norman Mailer Plaque Dedication". The Link News. May 22, 2018. Retrieved November 16, 2018.
  21. ^ Dan Radel (May 23, 2018). "In Long Branch, a rock for native-son Norman Mailer". APP. USA Today. Retrieved May 23, 2018.
  22. ^ Walker, Kevin (February 12, 2007). "Bull's-Eye". The Tampa Tribune. Bay Life, p. 1, 6–7. USF scores a coup with an agreement to publish a literary journal linked with iconic author Norman Mailer.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: location (link)
  23. ^ "A New Journal for Mailer Studies". The Norman Mailer Society. May 18, 2007. Retrieved October 22, 2017.
  24. ^ Lucas, Gerald R. (November 11, 2014). "About Project Mailer". Project Mailer. Retrieved October 22, 2018.
  25. ^ Lennon, J. Michael; Lennon, Donna Pedro (2018). Lucas, Gerald R. (ed.). Norman Mailer: Works and Days (Revised, Expanded ed.). Atlanta, GA: The Norman Mailer Society. p. xx. ISBN 978-1-7326519-0-6.
  26. ^ "The Norman Mailer Society Podcast". Apple iTunes. Project Mailer.
  27. ^ Wolcott, James (February 2016). "So, Like, Why Are We So Obsessed with Podcasts Right Now?". Vanity Fair. Retrieved August 27, 2017.
  28. ^ "Norman Mailer: The Sixties (boxed set)". Library of America. March 2018. Retrieved March 29, 2018.
  29. ^ Lennon, J. Michael (November 27, 2003). "To the Charter Members". NMS. The Norman Mailer Society. Retrieved August 27, 2017.
  30. ^ Flood, Brian (February 27, 2017). "Historian Honored for 'Buckley and Mailer'" (Press release). UIC Today. Retrieved August 27, 2017.
  31. ^ Lennon, J. Michael (2014). "Awards and Honors". J. Michael Lennon. Retrieved September 26, 2017.
  32. ^ "Minutes of the 2016 Business Meeting of the Norman Mailer Society". NMS. The Norman Mailer Society. 2016. Retrieved October 22, 2017.
  33. ^ "Robert F. Lucid Award for Mailer Studies". NMS. Norman Mailer Society. 2017. Retrieved September 1, 2017.

External links[edit]