Willie Morris, October 21, 1963

From Project Mailer
142 Columbia Heights
Brooklyn 1, New York
October 21, 1963

Dear Willie,[1]

Let me thank you for your letter, but writing articles has a bit of drudgery to it for me, and now I’m free, for a year at least, to work on a novel, so I think I’ll be keeping myself much to myself through this long winter. I’m glad you’re at Harper’s and let me wish you good luck in what you’re doing.

Norman Mailer
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An American Dream Expanded.


  1. Mailer met Morris in New York after Morris became editor of Harper's in 1963. Mailer’s letter gives a hint of the lifelong tension in his writing life between his profound desire to write novels and the financial need to write shorter pieces of nonfiction. He resolved the problem, to some extent, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, by writing long nonfiction narratives that are fictive; they read like novels. Three of these, The Armies of the Night (1968), Miami and the Siege of Chicago (1968) and The Prisoner of Sex (1971) appeared first in Harper’s. All three were nominated for the National Book Award; Armies won it and a Pulitzer Prize as well.