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The Norman Mailer Center & The Norman Mailer Writer's Colony


2015 Annual Awards Celebration · 2015-10-11



 Author Salman Rushdie to Receive Mailer Center’s Annual Prestigious Lifetime Achievement Prize and to Deliver Remarks at Public Award Ceremony

November 9, 2015, Brooklyn, N.Y. – Pratt Institute and The Norman Mailer Center are pleased to announce that renowned author Salman Rushdie will receive the Mailer Center’s Annual Lifetime Achievement Prize presented by artist Laurie Anderson on December 10 in Memorial Hall on Pratt’s Brooklyn Campus. The event is free and open to the public; doors open at 6 p.m. and the Awards Ceremony begins at 6:30 p.m.

 The evening also will include readings by winners of The Annual Norman Mailer High School, Two-Year College, Four-Year College, College Poetry, and Teacher Writing Awards, which were selected in partnership with the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). The NCTE includes 30,000 individual and institutional members worldwide, is dedicated to improving the teaching and learning of English and the language arts at all levels of education.

Seating to the award ceremony is on a first-come, first-served basis and RSVP is required.

About Pratt Institute:

Founded in 1887, Pratt Institute is a global leader in higher education dedicated to preparing its 4,700 undergraduate and graduate students for successful careers in art, design, architecture, information and library science, and liberal arts and sciences. Located in a cultural hub with historic campuses in Brooklyn and Manhattan, Pratt is a living lab of craft and creativity with an esteemed faculty of accomplished professionals and scholars who challenge their talented students to transform their passion into meaningful expression.

About the Norman Mailer Center:  The Norman Mailer Center is dedicated to nurturing generations of future writers in honor of Mailer’s contributions to culture and letters. By providing monetary, educational, and professional support, the center encourages writers to develop the passion, skill, and commitment to their craft that Mailer exhibited during his six-decade writing career. The Center encourages, assists and celebrates emerging writers who challenge conventional and comfortable views of reality, supporting writers who are endlessly curious, mentally nimble and committed to enriching the consciousness of their readers through the excellence of their work. 



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The Legacy of Norman Mailer · 2008-04-08

Rebecca M. Alvin [Provincetown Magazine]

Few were surprised when it was announced last year that Norman Mailer's red brick waterfront home on the East End of town would be preserved and used by the Norman Mailer Writers Colony, a project spearheaded by Mailer's longtime friend and collaborator, Lawrence Schiller.

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Mailer home inspires young writers · 2009-11-06

K.C. Myers [Cape Cod Times]

PROVINCETOWN - His house is almost a mansion, but the middle school students had to bow their heads to get into Norman Mailer's small attic writing studio.

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Buzz - Kaylie Jones · 2011-01-01

[Provincetown Arts]

Kaylie Jones, the writer-daughter of famed novelist James Jones, will be in Provinctown this summer teaching a workshop on how to write a memoir at the Norman Mailer Center in Provincetown.

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An Interview with Diana Sheets: What in the World is Longform Journalism and Why is Everyone Talking About it? · 2012-06-20

Michael F. Shaughnessy [Education News]

An Interview with Diana Sheets: What in the World is Longform Journalism and Why is Everyone Talking About it?

Posted by Michael Shaughnessy Education Views Senior Columnist on June 20, 2012 in Editor's Pick, Society | 0 

Michael F. Shaughnessy -

1) Diana, you recently participated in a weeklong workshop on long-form journalism facilitated by Alana Newhouse, editor-in-chief at “Tablet Magazine”, at The Norman Mailer Writers Colony. First of all, please define for me and our readers exactly what you mean by long-form journalism.

Long-form journalism or longform journalism is a complex journalistic story that is more than breaking news. It’s an expose with the potential to have more than one character and more than a single narrative; in other words it’s a layered story that ideally provides insight, not just facts. If a newspaper article in a national paper may run as long as 1,200 words, longform might run 2,000-3,500 words or in a special feature article in “The New York Times” even as much as 5,000 words.


To read the full 4-page interview, view the press clipping. 



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Singing the Blues · 2012-07-21

Amitava Kumar [Tehelka]

Singing the blues

High tide. The waves are lapping the shore only 20 feet away from me. A man has come out of his house next door and is tossing small pieces of bread at the seagulls. In two or three hours, when the water retreats, my children will catch tiny sand crabs.

This house where I sit, a few white clouds framed by my window, is in Provincetown in Cape Cod, and belonged to Norman Mailer. It’s now been turned into a writers’ colony. Every year, during the summer, writers gather here. I have been teaching a workshop on finding your voice on the page.

Read more in the attached PDF.

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Ptown, Sharks and the Norman Mailer Center · 2012-10-12

Tom Ward [The Huffington Post UK]

 British writer and graduate of Newcastle University, recently named the recipient of the Norman Mailer Student Writing Award 2012, in conjunction with British GQ



The first thing that strikes you as you walk into Norman Mailer's home is the fantastic view of the bay. An enormous widow faces southwards from the lounge and beside it a door leads outside to a large area of decking, perfect for catching the purples and pale blues of the sunset over the water. Depending on the tide, the water can be only a few steps from this decking and when I arrived at the house the first thing I did was to roll up my trousers and run into the bay, sending seagulls wheeling and screeching in all directions.


I quickly ran back out again. The water of Cape Cod is not the most hospitable water in November and will quickly turn your feet blue, if you keep them in there for any length of time.


Half an hour earlier we had flown low over the water, in what may have been the same plane that pitched Indiana Jones out into the jungles of India in The Temple of Doom. Amongst the five passengers of our plane there had been no men in fedoras, however the pilot was quick to inform us that if we did crash, it would be game over.


'The water's freezing this time of year and the size of this plane? No one's gonna find us down there.'


'Down there' being Massachusetts' Cape Cod, at the tip of which lies Provincetown and Norman Mailer's former home. As Mailer himself put it, Provincetown is the fist at the end of the Cape's arm.


The pilot continued,


'The great whites should be gone by now, following the seals south to warmer seas.' Well, at least that was one last thing we probably wouldn't have to worry about if this rickety little plane did take a dive into the ocean.


Like the sharks, the population of Provincetown mostly migrates to warmer climes during winter. By the time November comes around tourist attractions have closed down, there are no more whale watching trips and the ferry to Boston is closed for the winter (hence the tiny plane). Those who do remain for the winter, when the population shrinks back down to around fifteen hundred, are the stalwart artists, poets, painters, sculptors, photographers and writers who have made P-town their home, following in the footsteps of such legendary former residents as John Dos Passos,Kurt Vonnegut and of course, Norman Mailer.


The reason I had flown from England over (probably) shark infested waters to stay in Norman Mailer's former home was simple, after Mailer's death in 2007 the Mailer Center was set up to encourage and nurture new writers. Since 2009 the Mailer Center has been running a writer's colony in Norman's old house offering writing seminars and tuition as well as awarding annual prizes to the writers they feel deserving. Three years ago British GQ became involved and offered a prize for British student writing, which is where I unexpectedly came in.


Finding out I had won the GQ Norman Mailer Award 2012 had been a gigantic surprise and as I explored Mailer's huge and empty old house on that first day, the scope of the prize was only just sinking in. I had won a month at Norman's home with all expenses paid. A month in which I didn't have to worry about paying the rent in some tiny East London flat, or finding another internship. It was a month in which all I had to do was write.


The award itself provides a huge boost to young writers, letting you know that during all those years of writing alone in your bedroom, you were doing something right. It's nothing if not encouraging. However, the opportunity to have free time to write is the part that will perhaps make the most difference to a recent graduate beginning the hunt for a real job.


Now, two weeks into my month away, I have finished a novel and have begun editing a second. Often I get up when the sun wakes me and cycle around the sand dunes before returning to the house and setting up shop at Norman's bar overlooking the bay. Once established there with a cup of green tea I attempt to work for four or five hours and sometimes I manage to be productive. Other times my mind wanders and I stare out over the bay, looking for sharks.


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Alphabet City · 2012-02-01

Olivia Cole [British GQ]

The annual Norman Mailer Center Gala honours a new generation of writers while remembering America's heavyweight man of letters. Last November, GQ's Olivia Cole joined presidents and rock writers at the Manhattan event, before going on a journey through NYC's labyrinthine literary landscape.
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Keith Richards Wins Mailer Award · 2011-11-04

Allison Yarrow [The Daily Beast]

Keith Richards is most famous for his music and one-time drug use. Now his poetic side will be feted with a prestigious literary award.

When Bill Clinton turned 60, The Rolling Stones played his birthday party and Martin Scorsese lit New York’s Beacon Theater bright as day to immortalize the event in documentary form. Now, it’s Clinton’s turn to honor the Stones’ guitarist, songwriter and sometime singer Keith Richards, and not for his peerless contributions to music.

On Nov. 8, The Norman Mailer Center will fete writers, both famous and not, at a gala at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in New York. Richards and his co-author James Fox will receive the prize for Distinguished Biography for Richards’s 2010 memoir, Life. The unorthodox nature of Fox’s and Richards’s collaboration has been documented—Richards insisted on blaring music during their interviews, and once a draft was finished, Fox read each page to Richards out loud. Fox recalled Richards’s natural ear for prose and Richards unveiled the burdens of his difficult childhood.

A rock music bad boy turned poet may seem an oddball choice for a highbrow literary accolade, but to the selection committee, it’s a pick that makes perfect sense. Not unlike the National Book Foundation’s honoring punk godmother Patti Smith and her memoir Just Kids with one of its coveted yearly awards, the Mailer Center is banking that celebrating Richards will get attention.

“We want to make people aware that great literature and fine work exist not only in the Pulitzer Prize, but in pop culture,” said Lawrence Schiller, who co-founded the center in 2008 with Mailer’s widow, Norris Church Mailer, who died in November last year.

Other honorees at the Mailer gala include the formidable Elie Wiesel for lifetime achievement, new journalism titan Gay Talese, and activist and writer Arundhati Roy. Writing by a college student, a high school student, and a high school teacher will also be acknowledged with cash awards. “Stephen King started as a teacher,” Schiller said.

The Mailer Center also funds scholarships and fellowships designed to funnel writers to the bungalow in Provincetown, Mass., where Mailer retreated to write. He published at least 30 books in many genres, but is perhaps best famous for his first novel, The Naked and the Dead, which was inspired by his World War II experience, and for his nonfiction narratives such as The Armies of the Night and The Executioner’s Song.

Richards is among a group of rock musicians, including Gregg Allman, Steven Tyler, and Neil Young, who are planning or have recently published memoirs.

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Publishing Luminaries Gather for Second Annual Benefit for Norman Mailer Center and Writers Colony · 2010-10-20

Patricia Bosworth [Vanity Fair]

The abrasive energizing spirit of Norman Mailer enveloped the Cipriani 42nd Street last evening as family, friends, and colleagues of Norman packed into the great domed ballroom to celebrate the second annual benefit for the Norman Mailer Center and Writers Colony.....

.....I was seated next to Larry Schiller, the flamboyant dynamo who two years ago co-founded the Norman Mailer Center and Writers Colony, housed in Norman’s home in Provincetown, with Norman’s widow, Norris Church Mailer. Each summer the colony offers fellowships to young writers in fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. For a month they can write there and discuss their work with established writers; there are workshops, readings, and seminars. To date the Center has awarded 16 fellowships and 150 writers have received scholarships. In 2011, the Center will offer an international study program to young writers from around the world.

Periodically our conversation was interrupted by awards presentations. Jann Wenner, the publisher of Rolling Stone magazine, received an award for Lifetime Achievement in Magazine Publishing. He was introduced by a drawling Tom Wolfe in his trademark white suit.

For me the high point of the evening was listening to the last two award recipients: a lifetime achievement prize went to Orhan Pamuk, Turkey’s best-known, best-selling novelist, and winner of the 2006 Nobel Prize in Literature. A champion of free speech at a time when insulting Turkish identity can be a criminal offense, he has fought with Islamists and nationalists alike and often risked his life to speak out. So has Ruth Gruber, age 99, who won the distinguished journalism award.  Reporter, photographer, author of 19 books, she was the first foreign correspondent to interview prisoners in the Soviet Gulag; after World War II she traveled all over Europe investigating the terrible conditions in refugee camps and then reporting it to the world.

Neither of these writers understands limitations. Both have been fascinated by brutality and courage and written on these subjects with eloquence. They have pushed themselves to be the best, very much like Mailer, who always thought of writing as a heroic enterprise.

After the dinner, I went over to congratulate Ruth, whom I have known since I was a little girl.  “Ruth,” I said, “what does it feel like to be 99 years old?” Ruth is tiny and delicate. She smiled and in a soft little voice said, “Oh, Patti, being 99 feels just like being 98.”


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