Archivist, Biographer, Educator

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Norman Mailer, the Moon Landing, New Journalism, and More

Interview with WAMC

No writer plunged more wholeheartedly into the chaotic energies of the 1960s than Norman Mailer, as he fearlessly revolutionized literary norms and genres to capture the political, social, and sexual explosions of an unsettled era.

Listen on WAMC.

Norman Mailer “recognized the permanent cleft in the American character”

Published this month by Library of America, Norman Mailer: The Sixties is a double dose of the trenchant writer who—in his fiction, his nonfiction, and in work that famously blurred the distinction between the two—threw himself unreservedly into the most tumultuous era in modern American history.

Read the interview.

WVIA Interview

J. Michael Lennon, Norman Mailer’s archivist, editor, and authorized biographer who teaches creative writing at Wilkes University, talks about the two-volume boxed set, “Norman Mailer: The Sixties,” issued March 27, 2018, by the Library of America.

Mailer’s Last Interview: On the Village Voice

Mike says: The Times Literary Supplement (London) asked to post an excerpt from Norman Mailer’s last interview (September 2007) with yours truly to its website. The interview concerns the VILLAGE VOICE, which announced a few days ago that it was suspending print publication after 62 years. Mailer speaks of the newspaper’s origins—he helped fund it, and also came up with the name. Please pass on to interested people. The piece first appeared in The Mailer Review a couple of years ago.

TLS Voices

Mike Interviewed by AM/FM Magazine

When did you meet Norman Mailer, Mike? What was your first impression of him?

Mailer and I corresponded for about 20 months before we met. After watching Mailer and Gore Vidal go at each other on the Dick Cavett Show in December of 1970, I wrote a letter to Mailer sympathizing with him. Vidal got the best of their tussle, but the audience did not know that Vidal had compared Mailer to Charles Manson, quite unfairly, in an essay in the New York Review of Books (years later, Vidal changed the essay, eliminating the comparison). About ten days after I wrote to Mailer, I got a long reply. I was in my 20s at the time, and recall being stunned when my wife handled me the letter. In 1971 Mailer was at the pinnacle of the literary world, having won a Pulitzer and the National Book Award for his 1968 account of the anti-war movement, The Armies of the Night. I was then a doctoral student at the University of Rhode Island, and was just starting my thesis on Mailer’s work. I told him about my ideas in my letters , and he sent back some supportive comments. It was the beginning of a 35-year friendship.

Funke Interview with Mike

An interview with Erika Funke of WVIA-FM in Scranton, PA. It concerns Mike’s edition of Mailer’s letters.

Mike on the Jim Engster Podcast

Hour 1: J. Michael Lennon on the “Selected Letters of Norman Mailer” — Lennon says Mailer never tossed a single thing he ever wrote.

Mike Interviews Jason Carney

To celebrate the release of Starve the Vulture — the latest release in Akashic’s Kaylie Jones Books imprint — J. Michael Lennon spoke with Jason Carney about his inspirations, writing a memoir, and the differences between poetry and prose.

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