Norman Kingsley Mailer (born January 31, 1923) is an American writer and innovator of the nonfictional novel.
Norman Mailer was born in Long Branch, New Jersey. He was brought up in Brooklyn and began attending Harvard University in 1939. At the university he became interested in writing and published his first story when he was 18.
Mailer enlisted in the army in World War II and served in the South Pacific. In 1948, just before enrolling in the Sorbonne in Paris, he wrote a book that made him world-famous: The Naked and The Dead, based on his personal experiences during World War II. It was hailed by many as one of the best American novels to come out of the war years.
In the following years, Mailer worked as a scriptwriter in Hollywood. Much of his work was refused by many publishers. But in the mid 1950s he became famous as an anti-establishment essayist. In Pieces such as
The White Negro: Superficial Reflections on the Hipster (1956) and
Advertisement for Myself (1959), Mailer examined violence, hysteria, crime, and confusion in American society.