Noted Norman Mailer scholar, editor, archivist, and authorized biographer, J. Michael Lennon, whose "Norman Mailer: A Double Life" was released in October, will be the featured speaker at Darien Library on Sunday, Feb. 9 at 5 p.m. Books will be available for purchase at the talk, and refreshments will be served.
An Emeritus Professor of English at Wilkes University in Pennsylvania, Lennon studied Mailer extensively before becoming his authorized biographer in 2006. In addition to being granted complete access to all his papers, library, and some 45,000 letters over 68 years, Lennon conducted over 20 extensive interviews with Mailer in the last years of his life. During his final 30 months, Lennon visited Mailer daily at his home in Provincetown, MA.
"While always his own best lawyer," Lennon writes, "Mailer never hinted at how he wished to be portrayed, nor did he ask my intentions. He answered all my questions candidly and with much good humor, enjoining me to 'put everything in.'"
Mailer's last wife of 27 years, the late Norris Church Mailer, his sister and lifelong confidante, Barbara Mailer Wasserman, and the rest of the Mailer family also cooperated with Lennon.
Kirkus Reviews called Lennon's book, "A must-read for students and admirers of Mailer's work."
About the author: J. Michael Lennon is Emeritus Vice President for Academic Affairs and Emeritus Professor of English at Wilkes University in Pennsylvania. In addition to being chair of the editorial board of The Mailer Review, he has written or edited several books about and with Mailer, including "Norman Mailer's Letters on An American Dream, 1963-69"; "Norman Mailer: Works and Days"; "Conversations with Norman Mailer"; and "Critical Essays on Norman Mailer."
He is the past president of both the Norman Mailer Society and the James Jones Literary Society and serves on the board of both organizations. From 2005-2007, he was a literary consultant to the Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas-Austin, where he assisted in the cataloguing of Mailer's papers, and was a Fellow there in 2009. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, Paris Review, Playboy, Provincetown Arts, New York, Modern Language Studies, Chicago Tribune, and New England Review, among other publications. He lives in Westport, Massachusetts.
The Darien Library is located at 1441 Post Rd. in Darien. Additional parking for evening and weekend Library programs on Thorndal Circle.