“American Notes.” Column by Christopher Hitchens. Time Literary Supplement, 29 November. An account of joint appearance of NM and Gore Vidal at the Royale Theatre in New York City, the concluding event of ten such reading in support of the American chapter of PEN. Vidal speaking first spoke of the dangers of the American empire “with reasonable pith and panache.” Mailer is quoted briefly from what was an unmemorable presentation. He “repeated himself, contradicted himself and abandoned all attempts at timing. He looked like a man who has lost his ticket.” See 85.4a, 86.4.
“Celebrating Norman Mailer.” Article by Fred Ferretti. New York Times, 22 November, Sec. B, p. 12. Account of the 20 November dinner ceremony at which Mailer received Lord and Taylor’s annual Rose Award for public accomplishment. Mailer is quoted as saying that he had been talking to his wife earlier and “said to her how nice it was that Lord & Taylor is honoring me on my 60th birthday. She smiled at me and said, ‘You’re 62, and it’s not your birthday.’ ”
“Mailer and Vidal at PEN Celebration.” Article by Michiko Kakutani. New York Times, 18 November. Summary of the uneventful exchange between Mailer and Vidal at the final PEN Celebration on 17 November in New York city to raise funding for the upcoming PEN International Congress. Mailer suggested that he and Vidal do a reading from Shaw’s “Don Juan in Hell,” and Vidal said no, “They want to see us debate.” See 86.4.
“Mailer and Vidal to Wield or Bury Hatchet for PEN.” Article by Kenneth R. Clark. Chicago Tribune, 17 November, Sec. 14, p. 43. Summary of PEN event plans outlined in 85.1, with new quotes from Mailer on the event at which he would be paired with Vidal. “I think there are more important things in the world than a feud between Gore Vidal and myself.” See 77.4– 77.9, 85.1, 85.2, 85.8, 85.9, winter and spring 1986 entries, 91.3.
“American Notes” Column by Christopher Hitchens. Times Literary Supplement, 4 October. Hitchens previews the events of the upcoming American PEN conference, quoting Mailer briefly on the purpose of the gathering in New York City, see 85.4a.
“Writers Assail FBI Seizures in Puerto Rico.” Article by Edwin McDowell. New York Times, 2 October, B9. Account of press conference called by the American chapter of PEN to discuss what Mailer called the apparent “outrageous abuse” of Puerto Rican writer Coqui Santaliz’s civil liberties. The apartment of Ms. Santaliz, former president of the Puerto Rican chapter of PEN, was searched, along with 37 others, in connection with the robbery of a Wells Fargo armored truck in 1983. “But what impressed me as singularly shocking,” Mailer said, was that the novel Ms. Santaliz was writing “was taken from her and has not been returned.” Mailer was joined at the conference by Rose Styron, Allen Ginsberg and Frances FitzGerald.
“Mailer-Vidal Reading Highlights Series of Forums.” Article-interview by John Blades. Chicago Tribune, 1 September. “An overview of the upcoming “PEN Celebrations,” a series of readings in support of the January 1986 PEN International Congress. Mailer and Vidal were scheduled to give the final reading at the end of 1985. Mailer said that “PEN was founded on the attractive notion that writers speak across national boundaries more gracefully and instinctively than governments.”
“The Hazards and Sources of Writing.” Michigan Quarterly Review 24 (summer), 391-402. Expanded, revised version of “A Sinister Occupation” (81.9) given as a Hopwood Lecture at the University of Michigan, April 1984. Mailer’s longest essay on his craft and his most important uncollected essay. Rpt: Speaking of Writing: Selected Hopwood Lectures, edited by Nicholas Delbanco. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1990, MO.
“Mailer Admits Someone’s Better.” Article by Brian Petersen. Grand Forks (North Dakota) Herald, 22 March, Sec. A, pp. 1, 8. Account of the 21 March University of North Dakota Writers Conference on narrative. Mailer, Alex Haley, Amy Clampitt and Jorie Graham were the speakers. Mailer said his instincts told him to speed up the dialogue in The Executioner’s Song (79.14) until he saw that it could not be improved. “I realized God is a better novelist than the novelist.”