Interview With Norman Mailer • High Times


Norman Mailer (1923 – 2007) would have been 97 on January 31. To celebrate, we’re republishing this interview from September, 1979, conducted by Legs McNeil.

At the age of 56, Norman Mailer has the right to call himself America’s Greatest Living Writer—even if he’s not. For one thing, maybe he is. He is a great writer. Definitely America’s Greatest Macho-Hetero Writer Over Military Age. But even if Mailer’s literary genius has dimmed somewhat over the 30 years of his certified greatness, he still would maintain his position on assertion alone.

Norman Mailer has been running for Greatest Writer in America for 40 years, ever since he was a 16-year-old punk freshman at Harvard, running for the Literary Presidency as if it actually existed somewhere in the shadow of the Great American Novel. Mailer has been the champ since Hemingway blew his brains out.

He was famous at 21 with his bestselling war novel, The Naked and the Dead, and continued to ride the crest of literary…


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