Norman Mailer

As regular readers know I have recently become addicted to watching documentaries and films about writers and I have been on the look out for more. I found out about an upcoming documentary on Norman Mailer, called Norman Mailer The American, directed by Joseph Mantegna (no, not the actor).

Norman Mailer was an American writer who was most well known as a progenitor of narrative nonfiction, also known as the New Journalism, and was a recipient of many awards including two Pulitzers (1968 and 1980), the National Book Award (1968) and the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters (2005). A prolific writer, he produced over sixty books including The Armies of The NightThe Executioner’s Song, The Naked and The Dead, The Deer Park, and Marilyn. He also co-founded The Village Voice, directed a number of experimental short films and authored both theatre and screenplays.

One of the most controversial figures of American letters, Mailer left a trail of destruction in his wake. He head-butted Gore Vidal before they were both interviewed on the Dick Cavett Show, ran unsuccessfully for Mayor of New York, had more fist fights than any sane man should, stabbed one of his wives and was briefly addicted to Benzedrine. Mailer’s prolificacy didn’t end with literature; he also produced nine children by six different wives leading to a complicated personal life.

There’s a wealth of material for a biopic of Mailer and the makers of the documentary have managed to secure interviews with his wives, children, close friends, and colleagues, so it promises to be in-depth. As yet there’s no information on the official website about a release date here in Ireland but I’m hoping the IFI will screen it at some stage, as it would be a perfect venue for it.