J. Michael Lennon

Archivist, Biographer, Educator

Category: News

Mr. Mailer Goes to Washington

David Denby writes:

In recent years, Mailer has been grievously out of fashion, but in February the Library of America is bringing out a two-volume set of his work from the Sixties, one volume devoted to fiction, the other to essays and journalism, and Mailer may be due for reappraisal and revival.

Read the rest of his review of the Library of America’s new Mailer collections at Harper’s.

Mailer: the 60s Collection

Preorder now.

Wilkes Graduate Creative Writing Program Marks 10th Anniversary

Since welcoming a first class of about a dozen students in 2005, the Wilkes University graduate creative writing program has seen over 100 books, 50 plays, 40 films and hundreds of poems and short stories published or produced by its faculty, students and alumni.

Mailer’s Biographer Begins Lecture Series

On Tuesday, Sept. 17, Norman Mailer’s official biographer, J. Michael Lennon commenced the first in a series of lectures as a part of the hybrid Irish and Africana cultural studies program. J.M. Lennon is an emeritus professor of English at Wilkes University, as well as the father of University professor Joseph Lennon, who is also the head of the Irish Studies program.

Take a Walking Tour with Mike

The Norman Mailer Center and Writers Colony is inviting you to the Norman Mailer Brooklyn Walking Book Tour hosted by our faculty member and Mailer’s authorized biographer, J. Michael Lennon. Starting in the lobby of the St. George Residence and ending at the Norman Mailer home, Lennon will guide participants through a stimulating narrative of Norman Mailer and other writers experiences in Brooklyn Heights. Lennon will also discuss his authorized biography of Norman Mailer as well as Mailer’s Brooklyn based 1951 novel, Barbary Shore. This inspiring event is open to you and other Norman Mailer Center participants.

A Conversation with J. Michael Lennon

J. Michael Lennon, Norman Mailer’s archivist and Emeritus Vice President and Emeritus Professor of English at Wilkes University, recently spoke with the Ransom Center about Mailer and the upcoming Fleur Cowles Flair symposium, The Sense of Our Time: Norman Mailer and America in Conflict.

New York, N.Y., November 2008 – An authorized biography of Norman Mailer has been acquired by Simon & Schuster, it was announced today. The book is being written by J. Michael Lennon, a longtime friend of Mailer’s and a professor at Wilkes University. Personally chosen by Mailer as his official biographer, Lennon will have the cooperation of the Mailer estate, and base the book in part on his extensive interviews with Mailer over the past several years, as well as access to Mailer’s unpublished works and letters at the Harry Ransom Center of the University of Texas.

Lennon is the late Mailer’s archivist and has written/edited several books about him, including Norman Mailer: Works and Days, Critical Essays on Norman Mailer, Conversations with Norman Mailer, Norman Mailer’s Letters on An American Dream, 1963-69, and most recently, On God: An Uncommon Conversation, co-authored with Mailer. He is the current president of The Norman Mailer Society and past president of The James Jones Literary Society. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, Paris Review, Playboy, Provincetown Arts, New York, Modern Fiction Studies, New England Review, Narrative and Journal of Modern Literature, among others.

Lennon commented: “I met Norman in 1972 and we became good friends over the years. I have been collecting material for this biography almost from the beginning of our relationship. Beginning in 2003, Norman did a series of in-depth interviews with me on his life and work with the clear sense that the historical record had to be preserved. These interviews, along with others with his widow Norris and other family and friends will be essential to my effort. Norman Mailer lived a fantastically full and dramatic life, and a productive one. He was the chief interpreter of the last half of the American century, and his major works, including THE NAKED AND THE DEAD, ADVERTISEMENTS FOR MYSELF, THE ARMIES OF THE NIGHT and THE EXECUTIONER’S SONG, changed the rhythms of American prose. No career in our literature has been as brilliant, varied, public, prolific and controversial.”

World rights to the book were acquired by Simon & Schuster Executive Vice President and Publisher David Rosenthal from John Taylor “Ike” Williams of Kneerim & Williams. The book will be edited by VP and Senior Editor Bob Bender. Rosenthal said: “With his interviews with Mailer, his close friends and family members, and access to the Mailer Archive, Mike Lennon is the very best person to undertake this biography. It is a monumental life that will get the book it deserves.”

Simon & Schuster, a part of the CBS Corporation, is a global leader in the field of general interest publishing, dedicated to providing the best in fiction and nonfiction for consumers of all ages, across all printed, electronic, and audio formats. Its divisions include Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing, Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, Simon & Schuster Audio, Simon & Schuster Digital, and international companies in Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

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