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

2011 Annual Benefit Gala

The Third Annual Benefit Gala took place on Tuesday, November 8 at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in New York City. Tina Brown served as Honorary Chair for the evening. Dylan Jones and Piers Morgan served as Co-Chairs. Bill Weir served as the Master of Ceremonies. 

2011 Annual Benefit Gala

Thursday, November 13, 2008· 7:00 PM
Mandarin Oriental Hotel
80 Columbus Circle
New York, New York

Mailer Prize for Lifetime Achievement

Elie Wiesel

Mailer Prize for Lifetime Achievement

Elie Wiesel was born in 1928 in Sighet, Transylvania. He became a journalist and writer in France after the war. His memoir Night, about his experience during the Holocaust was published in 1956 in Yiddish and in 1958 in French. The internationally acclaimed book later was translated into more than 30 languages.


Wiesel went on to author 57 books of fiction and non-fiction, including A Beggar in Jerusalem (Prix Médicis winner), The Testament (Prix Livre Inter winner), The Fifth Son (winner of the Grand Prize in Literature from the City of Paris), two volumes of his memoirs, All Rivers Run to the Sea and And the Sea is Never Full, and recently The Sonderberg Case.

For his literary and human rights activities, he has received numerous awards including the United States Congressional Gold Medal (1985) and the Medal of Liberty Award (1986); the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1992); the rank of Grand-Croix in the French Legion of Honor (2001); and an honorary Knighthood of the British Empire (2006).

When he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986, the Norwegian Nobel Committee called him a "messenger to mankind", praising him for delivering a powerful message "of peace, atonement and human dignity" to humanity.

Soon after receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, Marion and Elie Wiesel established The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity.  He continues to work for peace and human rights all over the world. Dr. Wiesel has been the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Boston University since 1976. He is also the Advisory Board chairman of the Algemeiner Journal newspaper.


Dr. Wiesel will receive the Mailer Prize for Lifetime Achievement, presented by Mort Zuckerman.

Elie Wiesel Mailer Prize for Lifetime Achievement Presented by Mortimer Zuckerman
Mailer Prize for Distinguished Writing

Arundhati Roy

Mailer Prize for Distinguished Writing

Arundhati Roy was born in 1959 in Shillong, India. She studied architecture in New Delhi, where she now lives. She has worked as a film designer and screenplay writer in India. Roy is the author of the novel The God of Small Things, for which she received the 1997 Booker Prize. The novel has been translated into dozens of languages worldwide. She has written several non-fiction books, including The Cost of Living, Power Politics, War Talk, An Ordinary Person’s Guide to Empire, and Public Power in the Age of Empire. Roy was featured in the BBC television documentary Dam/age, which is about the struggle against big dams in India. A collection of interviews with Arundhati Roy by David Barsamian was published as The Checkbook and the Cruise Missile. Her newest book, published by Haymarket Books, is Field Notes on Democracy: Listening to Grasshoppers. Penguin will be publishing her book Broken Republic in Fall 2011. Roy is the recipient of the 2002 Lannan Foundation Cultural Freedom Prize.


As a social justice activist, Roy’s courageous, popular interviews and essays on war and peace, contemporary India and Kashmir, U.S. imperial power, and a renewal of popular democracy across the world, have earned her a large audience and international profile. Roy's writings on Southeast Asia come at a time of renewed interest in the subcontinent, but her topics are also of global concern, including war, terrorism, national and ethnic identity, social inequality, and the environment. Roy’s writings on and support of the tribal community of Naxals defending their land in central India led to a government investigation and threats of imprisonment, engendering worldwide petitions and outcry in her defense.

Arundhati Roy Mailer Prize for Distinguished Writing Presented by Jonathan Demme
Mailer Prize for Distinguished Journalism

Gay Talese

Mailer Prize for Distinguished Journalism

Gay Talese is known for his daring pursuit of “un-reportable” stories, for his exhaustive research and for his formally elegant style. Born in Ocean City, New Jersey, Talese’s journalism career began at age 15 when he was given his own column for the weekly Ocean City Sentinel-Ledger. He went on to write for The New York Times, Esquire, The New Yorker, Harper's Magazine, and other national publications and helped to define literary journalism or "new nonfiction reportage", also known as New Journalism.

In 1953, Talese started at the New York Times as a copyboy but was able to get an article published there before he was drafted into the Army the following year. While in the Army, Talese found himself once again working for the local paper, Inside the Turret, and once again soon had his own column, "Fort Knox Confidential”. He returned to New York in 1956 as a full-fledged sports reporter. He would write 38 articles about Floyd Patterson alone.

Talese wrote The Bridge (1964), a reporter-style, non-fiction depiction of the construction of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in New York City. His 1966 Esquire article on Frank Sinatra, "Frank Sinatra Has a Cold," is one of the most influential American magazine articles of all time, and a pioneering example of New Journalism. Also appeared in 1966 was his celebrated Esquire piece about Joe DiMaggio, “The Silent Season of a Hero”. His later books include the The Kingdom and the Power (1969), Honor Thy Father (1971) Thy Neighbor’s Wife (1981), Unto the Sons (1992), Origins of a Nonfiction Writer (1996), and A Writer’s Life (2006). A collection of his sports writing, The Silent Season of a Hero, was published 2010. He recently was awarded the George Polk Award.

Gay Talese Mailer Prize for Distinguished Journalism Presented by Sir Harold Evans
Mailer Prize for Distinguished Biography

Keith Richards

Mailer Prize for Distinguished Biography

Keith Richards is musician, songwriter, and a founding member of The Rolling Stones, for whom he plays the guitar.Born on December 18, 1943, in Dartford, England, Richards is one of the driving forces behind the Rolling Stones, the self-proclaimed "World's Greatest Rock & Roll Band." Rolling Stone magazine has credited him with “creating the world’s greatest single body of riffs”. He was ranked fourth in Time magazine's list of the 10 best electric guitar players of all time. Fourteen songs written by Richards and band mate Mick Jagger are listed among Rolling Stone Magazine's "500 Greatest Songs of All Time". He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1993.

As a powerful contributor to the world of music and an iconic figure in American culture, Richards has inspired a book of quotations titled What Would Keith Richards Do?: Daily Affirmations from a Rock 'n' Roll Survivor. He even made it to the big screen in 2007 in Pirates of Caribbean: At World's End, in which he played the father of Johnny Depp's popular pirate Captain Jack Sparrow – a character that drew inspiration in part from Richards. Around this time, Richards announced that he would be writing his autobiography, Life.

Released in October 2010, Life chronicles his upbringing in England, his love of music, the founding of The Rolling Stones, his often turbulent relationship with Mick Jagger and his relationship with wife Patti Hansen.

Keith Richards Mailer Prize for Distinguished Biography Presented by President William J. Clinton

Our honorees were:

  • Elie Wiesel, recipient of the Mailer Prize for Lifetime Achievement (presented by Mortimer Zuckerman)
  • Arundhati Roy, recipient of the Mailer Prize for Distinguished Writing (presented by Jonathan Demme)
  • Gay Talese, recipient of the Mailer Prize for Distinguished Journalism (presented by Tina Brown)
  • Keith Richards, recipient of the Mailer Prize Distinguished Biography (presented by President William J. Clinton)

The winners of the Mailer Student Writing Awards, presented in partnership with the National Council of Teachers of English, were:

  • National High School Teacher Award: Marjorie Gilchrist-Young, The Tender Branch
  • National High School Award: Dalia Wolfson, Parquet Dictionary
  • National Community College Award: Christopher Woodard, Let All Those End Soon With Few Tears
  • National College Award: Elisa Gonzalez, Digital Leftovers, All the Words I Knew, Family History

The winner of the British GQ Norman Mailer Student Writing Award:

  • Sue Stout, Sticking to the Letter

The 2011 Annual Benefit Gala was underwritten by: Zenith, Swiss Watch Manufacture


The evening’s sponsors included: American Airlines, Angelo Galasso, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Benedikt Taschen, Chuck Close, Gagosian Gallery, Giorgio Armani, GQ Magazine, Dylan Jones, Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP, Mandarin Oriental, New York, Marco Colodro & Susan Mailer, Marla Hamburg Kennedy, Matthew Barney, National Madison Group, Inc., Phillips de Pury, Random House, Inc., Richard Prince, Taki Theodoracopulos, The Armand F. Erpf Foundation, Tina Brown & Sir Harold Evans, Tommy Hilfiger Group, Van Cleef & Arpels, and Zeng Fanzhi