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

Mailer Prize

The Mailer Prize
The Mailer Prize, the Center’s highest award, is given to writers whose work over the years has challenged readers’ perspectives on the world around them. The Mailer Prize recognizes those who embrace the values that drove Norman Mailer’s work: namely, writers who fully exercise their freedom of creativity; who apply themselves to the craft of writing with the rigor of an athlete; who wish to reach a broad audience through their work; and who thrive on dialogue and debate.  
The Mailer Prize honors those who share the Center’s vision of writers as people of action, those who embody the Center’s mission to preserve the role of the engaged writer as not only a legitimate, but an indispensable voice in contemporary discourse.

2015 Mailer Prize recipients

Lifetime Achievement Prize

Salman Rushdie

Lifetime Achievement Prize


Salman Rushdie is the author of twelve novels: Grimus, Midnight’s Children(which was awarded the Booker Prize in 1981), Shame, The Satanic Verses,Haroun and the Sea of Stories, The Moor’s Last Sigh, The Ground Beneath Her Feet,Fury, Shalimar the Clown and The Enchantress of Florence, and Luka and the Fire of Life. His most recent novel, Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights, was published in the English language in September 2015.

He is also the author of a book of stories, East, West, and four works of non-fiction – Joseph Anton – A MemoirImaginary Homelands, The Jaguar Smile, andStep Across This Line. He is the co-editor of Mirrorwork, an anthology of contemporary Indian writing, and of the 2008 Best American Short Storiesanthology.

He has adapted Midnight’s Children for the stage. It was performed in London and New York by the Royal Shakespeare Company. In 2004, an opera based upon Haroun and the Sea of Stories was premiered by the New York City Opera at Lincoln Center.


A Fellow of the British Royal Society of Literature, Salman Rushdie has received, among other honours, the Whitbread Prize for Best Novel (twice), the Writers’ Guild Award, the James Tait Black Prize, the European Union’s Aristeion Prize for Literature, Author of the Year Prizes in both Britain and Germany, the French Prix du Meilleur Livre Étranger, the Budapest Grand Prize for Literature, the Premio Grinzane Cavour in Italy, the Crossword Book Award in India, the Austrian State Prize for European Literature, the London International Writers’ Award, the James Joyce award of University College Dublin, the St Louis Literary Prize, the Carl Sandburg Prize of the Chicago Public Library, and a U.S. National Arts Award. He holds honorary doctorates and fellowships at six European and six American universities, is an Honorary Professor in the Humanities at M.I.T, and University Distinguished Professor at Emory University.

He has received the Freedom of the City in Mexico City, Strasbourg and El Paso, and the Edgerton Prize of the American Civil Liberties Union. He holds the rank of Commandeur in the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres – France’s highest artistic honour. Between 2004 and 2006 he served as President of PEN American Center and for ten years served as the Chairman of the PEN World Voices International Literary Festival, which he helped to create. In June 2007 he received a Knighthood in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. In 2008 he became a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and was named a Library Lion of the New York Public Library. In addition, Midnight’s Children was named the Best of the Booker – the best winner in the award’s 40 year history – by a public vote.

His books have been translated into over forty languages.

A film of Midnight’s Children, directed by Deepa Mehta, was released in 2012.

The Ground Beneath Her Feet, in which the Orpheus myth winds through a story set in the world of rock music, was turned into a song by U2 with lyrics by Salman Rushdie.

Salman Rushdie Lifetime Achievement Prize Presented by Presented by Laurie Anderson

2014 Mailer Prize recipients

Mailer Prize for Lifetime Achievement

Don DeLillo

Mailer Prize for Lifetime Achievement

Don DeLillo is the author of fifteen novels, including Underworld, Falling Man, White Noise, and Libra. He has won the National Book Award, the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, the Jerusalem Prize for his complete body of work, and the William Dean Howells Medal from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 2010, he was awarded the PEN/Saul Bellow Prize. The Angel Esmeralda was a finalist for the 2011 Story Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. In October 2012, DeLillo receives the Carl Sandburg Literary Award for his body of work.

Don DeLillo Mailer Prize for Lifetime Achievement Presented by Nan Graham
Mailer Prize for Distinguished Magazine Publishing

Katrina vanden Heuvel

Mailer Prize for Distinguished Magazine Publishing

Katrina vanden Heuvel is Editor and Publisher of The Nation.  She is a frequent commentator on American and international politics for ABC, MSNBC, CNN and PBS. Her articles have appeared in The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Foreign Policy, and The Boston Globe.  She writes a weekly web column for The Washington Post. Her blog "Editor's Cut" appears at  She is the author of The Change I Believe In: Fighting for Progress in The Age of Obama (Nation Books, 2011). She is also the editor of Meltdown: How Greed and Corruption Shattered Our Financial System and How We Can Recover and co-editor of Taking Back America—And Taking Down The Radical Right.

Katrina vanden Heuvel Mailer Prize for Distinguished Magazine Publishing Presented by Walter Mosley
Mailer Prize for Distinguished Poetry

Billy Collins

Mailer Prize for Distinguished Poetry

Billy Collins is an American phenomenon.  No poet since Robert Frost has managed to combine high critical acclaim with such broad popular appeal. His work has appeared in a variety of periodicals including The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and The American Scholar, he is a Guggenheim fellow and a New York Public Library “Literary Lion.”  His last three collections of poems have broken sales records for poetry. Billy Collins has published ten collections of poetry, including Questions About Angels, The Art of Drowning, Picnic, Lightning, Sailing Alone Around the Room: New & Selected Poems, Nine Horses, The Trouble With Poetry and Other Poems, Ballistics, and Horoscopes for the Dead.   In June 2001, Billy Collins was appointed United States Poet Laureate 2001-2003.  In January 2004, he was named New York State Poet Laureate 2004-06. Billy Collins is a Distinguished Professor of English at Lehman College of the City University of New York, as well as a Senior Distinguished Fellow of the Winter Park Institute at Rollins College. 

Billy Collins Mailer Prize for Distinguished Poetry Presented by David Ebershoff

2013 Mailer Prize recipients

Mailer Prize for Lifetime Acheivement
Photo by Dwight Carter

Dr. Maya Angelou

Mailer Prize for Lifetime Acheivement
Dr. Maya Angelou is one of the most renowned and influential voices of our time. Hailed as a global renaissance woman, Dr. Angelou is a celebrated poet, memoirist, novelist, educator, dramatist, producer, actress, historian, filmmaker, and civil rights activist. Born on April 4th, 1928, in St. Louis, Missouri, Dr. Angelou was raised in St. Louis and Stamps, Arkansas. In Stamps, Dr. Angelou experienced the brutality of racial discrimination, but she also absorbed the unshakable faith and values of traditional African-American family, community, and culture. As a teenager, Dr. Angelou’s love for the arts won her a scholarship to study dance and drama at San Francisco’s Labor School. At 14, she dropped out to become San Francisco’s first African-American female cable car conductor. She later finished high school, giving birth to her son, Guy, a few weeks after graduation. As a young single mother, she supported her son by working as a waitress and cook, however her passion for music, dance, performance, and poetry would soon take center stage. In 1954 and 1955, Dr. Angelou toured Europe with a production of the opera Porgy and Bess. She studied modern dance with Martha Graham, danced with Alvin Ailey on television variety shows and, in 1957, recorded her first album, Calypso Lady. In 1958, she moved to New York, where she joined the Harlem Writers Guild, acted in the historic Off-Broadway production of Jean Genet's The Blacks and wrote and performed Cabaret for Freedom. In 1960, Dr. Angelou moved to Cairo, Egypt where she served as editor of the English language weekly The Arab Observer. The next year, she moved to Ghana where she taught at the University of Ghana's School of Music and Drama, worked as feature editor for The African Review and wrote for The Ghanaian Times. During her years abroad, Dr. Angelou read and studied voraciously, mastering French, Spanish, Italian, Arabic and the West African language Fanti. While in Ghana, she met with Malcolm X and, in 1964, returned to America to help him build his new Organization of African American Unity. Shortly after her arrival in the United States, Malcolm X was assassinated, and the organization dissolved. Soon after X's assassination, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. asked Dr. Angelou to serve as Northern Coordinator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. King's assassination, falling on her birthday in 1968, left her devastated. With the guidance of her friend, the novelist James Baldwin, she began work on the book that would become I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Published in 1970, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings was published to international acclaim and enormous popular success. The list of her published verse, non-fiction, and fiction now includes more than 30 bestselling titles. A trailblazer in film and television, Dr. Angelou wrote the screenplay and composed the score for the 1972 film Georgia, Georgia. Her script, the first by an African American woman ever to be filmed, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. She continues to appear on television and in films including the landmark television adaptation of Alex Haley's Roots (1977) and John Singleton's Poetic Justice (1993). In 1996, she directed her first feature film, Down in the Delta. In 2008, she composed poetry for and narrated the award-winning documentary The Black Candle, directed by M.K. Asante. Dr. Angelou has served on two presidential committees, was awarded the Presidential Medal of Arts in 2000, the Lincoln Medal in 2008, and has received 3 Grammy Awards. President Clinton requested that she compose a poem to read at his inauguration in 1993. Dr. Angelou's reading of her poem "On the Pulse of the Morning" was broadcast live around the world. Dr. Angelou has received over 30 honorary degrees and is Reynolds Professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University. Dr. Angelou’s words and actions continue to stir our souls, energize our bodies, liberate our minds, and heal our hearts.
Dr. Maya Angelou Mailer Prize for Lifetime Acheivement Presented by Robert Loomis
Mailer Prize for Distinguished Writing

Junot Diaz

Mailer Prize for Distinguished Writing
Junot Díaz was born in the Dominican Republic and raised in New Jersey. He is the author of the critically acclaimed Drown; The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, which won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award; and This Is How You Lose Her, a New York Times bestseller and National Book Award finalist. He is the recipient of a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, PEN/Malamud Award, Dayton Literary Peace Prize, Guggenheim Fellowship, and PEN/O. Henry Award. A graduate of Rutgers College, Díaz is currently the fiction editor at Boston Review and the Rudge and Nancy Allen Professor of Writing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Junot Diaz Mailer Prize for Distinguished Writing Presented by Samuel R. Delany

2012 Mailer Prize recipients

Mailer Prize for Lifetime Achievement
Photo by Charles Gross

Joyce Carol Oates

Mailer Prize for Lifetime Achievement
Joyce Carol Oates is a recipient of the National Medal of Humanities, the National Book Critics Circle Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award, the National Book Award and the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction, and has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. She has written some of the most enduring fiction of our time, including the national bestsellers We Were the Mulvaneys, Blonde, which was nominated for the National Book Award, and the New York Times bestseller The Falls, which won the 2005 Prix Femina. She is the Roger S. Berlind Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Princeton University and has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters since 1978. In 2003 she received the Common Wealth Award for Distinguished Service in Literature, and in 2006 she received the Chicago Tribune Lifetime Achievement Award.
Joyce Carol Oates Mailer Prize for Lifetime Achievement Presented by Daniel Halpern
Mailer Prize for Distinguished Biography

Robert A. Caro

Mailer Prize for Distinguished Biography

Caro graduated from Princeton University and later became a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University. He lives in New York City with his wife, Ina, an historian and writer.

For his biographies of Robert Moses and Lyndon Johnson, Robert A. Caro has twice won the Pulitzer Prize for Biography, twice won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Best Nonfiction Book of the Year, and has also won virtually every other major literary honor, including the National Book Award, the Gold Medal in Biography from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Francis Parkman Prize, awarded by the Society of American Historians to the book that best “exemplifies the union of the historian and the artist.” In 2010, he received the National Humanities Medal from President Obama.

Caro’s first book, The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York,everywhere acclaimed as a modern classic, was chosen by the Modern Library as one of the hundred greatest nonfiction books of the twentieth century, and by Time magazine as one of the hundred top nonfiction books of all time. It is, according to David Halberstam, “Surely the greatest book ever written about a city.” And The New York Times Book Review said: “In the future, the scholar who writes the history of American cities in the twentieth century will doubtless begin with this extraordinary effort.”

The first volume of The Years of Lyndon Johnson, The Path to Power, was cited by The Washington Post as “proof that we live in a great age of biography . . . [a book] of radiant excellence . . . Caro’s evocation of the Texas Hill Country, his elaboration of Johnson’s unsleeping ambition, his understanding of how politics actually work, are—let it be said flat out—at the summit of American historical writing.” Professor Henry F. Graff of Columbia University called the second volume, Means of Ascent, “brilliant. No review does justice to the drama of the story Caro is telling, which is nothing less than how present-day politics was born.” The London Times hailed volume three, Master of the Senate, as “a masterpiece . . . Robert Caro has written one of the truly great political biographies of the modern age.” And on the cover of The New York Times Book Review, Bill Clinton praised volume four, The Passage of Power, as “Brilliant . . . Important . . .Remarkable. With this fascinating and meticulous account Robert Caro has once again done America a great service.”

“Caro has a unique place among American political biographers,” according to The Boston Globe. “He has become, in many ways, the standard by which his fellows are measured.” And Nicholas von Hoffman wrote: “Caro has changed the art of political biography.” 

Robert A. Caro Mailer Prize for Distinguished Biography Presented by Sir Harold Evans
Mailer Prize for Distinguished Publishing
Photo by Casey Kelbaugh

Barnet Lee Rosset, Jr.

Mailer Prize for Distinguished Publishing

As publisher of Grove Press, Barney Lee Rosset was a First Amendment crusader who helped overthrow 20th century censorship laws in the United States and profoundly expanded the American reading experience. A minor investment changed his life, and changed the world.

A Chicago native, he was the only child of a banker, a rich kid with a passion for the arts. He is remembered by Richard Seaver, a long-time editor at Grove, as a bon vivant, "often irascible, a control freak, prone to panic attacks," with a "sadistic element" that shadowed his "innate generosity."

In 1951, he paid $3,000 for Grove Press, a publishing house with only three titles to its credit. Rosset put the books in a suitcase, carried them to his apartment and opened shop. The story of Grove soon became one of Rosset’s tenacity turning the obscure and the forbidden into the best-selling and the essential, from Burroughs' "Naked Lunch" to Beckett's "Waiting for Godot.”

It was this tenacity that aided Rosset in the long and costly war he waged on behalf of free expression. After numerous case courts, a grand jury refused to indict and in 1964 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled for Rosset and Grove.

In his later years, he ran the erotic publisher Blue Moon Books. He worked on a memoir, revived the Evergreen Green Review online and started a blog. Upon receiving his honorary National Book Award, Rosset reviewed his long history of defiance and stated that the "principal that no one has the right to tell us what we can and cannot read is one that has always been dear to me."

Rosset passed away in February of 2012 at the age of 89 in New York City. His wife Astrid Meyers is accepting the Mailer Prize for Distinguished Publishing on his behalf.

Barnet Lee Rosset, Jr. Mailer Prize for Distinguished Publishing Presented by Charles McGrath

2011 Mailer Prize recipients

Mailer Prize for Lifetime Achievement

Elie Wiesel

Mailer Prize for Lifetime Achievement

Elie Wiesel was born in 1928 in Sighet, Transylvania. As a journalist and writer in France, he wrote a memoir Night, about his experience during the Holocaust. The book was published in 1956 in Yiddish, in 1958 in French and later translated into more than 30 languages.

Wiesel went on to write 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, Marion and Elie Wiesel established The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity.

Dr. Wiesel continues to work for peace and human rights all over the world. He is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Boston University, and also the Advisory Board chairman of the Algemeiner Journal newspaper.

Dr. Wiesel received the Mailer Prize for Lifetime Achievement, presented by Mortimer 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’s novel The God of Small Things, received the 1997 Booker Prize, and has been translated into dozens of languages worldwide. Her many nonfiction books include 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 environmental and political 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 most recent books are Field Notes on Democracy: Listening to Grasshoppers, published by Haymarket Books, and Walking with the Comrades, published in October by Penguin. Roy is the recipient of the 2002 Lannan Foundation Cultural Freedom Prize.

As a social justice activist and a writer, her interviews and essays on war and peace, contemporary India and Kashmir, U.S. imperial power, and social movements across the world
have earned her a large audience and international profile. Roy’s writings on and support of the tribal communities of Naxals defending their land in India led to a government
investigation and threats of imprisonment, engendering worldwide petitions and outcry in her defense.

The Mailer Prize for Distinguished Writing was presented by Jonathan Demme.

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, exhaustive research and 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 had his own column soon, "Fort Knox Confidential.” He returned to New York in 1956 as a
sports reporter; he would write 38 articles about Floyd Patterson alone. 

Talese’s 1966 Esquire article "Frank Sinatra Has a Cold" is one of the most influential American magazine articles of all time, and a pioneering example of New Journalism; the same year his celebrated Esquire piece about Joe DiMaggio “The Silent Season of a Hero” was published. His books include The Bridge, The Kingdom and the Power, Honor Thy Father, Thy Neighbor’s Wife, Unto the Sons, Origins of a Nonfiction Writer, A Writer’s Life and The Silent Season of a Hero. He recently was awarded the George Polk Award. 

The Mailer Prize for Distinguished Journalism was presented by Tina Brown.

Gay Talese Mailer Prize for Distinguished Journalism Presented by Tina Brown
Mailer Prize for Distinguished Biography

Keith Richards

Mailer Prize for Distinguished Biography

Keith Richards is a musician, songwriter, and a founding member of the Rolling Stones, for whom he plays the guitar. Born in 1943, Richards grew up in Dartford, an industrial suburb of London, England. He 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. 

The Rolling Stones changed the international music scene, and Richards remains a powerful figure in the world of music. An icon in American culture, he even inspired a book titled What Would Keith Richards Do? and a character for the movie Pirates of Caribbean: At World's End, in which he played the role of Captain Jack Sparrow's father. 

In his autobiography, Life, released in October 2010, Richards 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. 

The Mailer Prize for Distinguished Biography was presented by President William J. Clinton.

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

2010 Mailer Prize recipients

Mailer Prize for Lifetime Achievement

Orhan Pamuk

Mailer Prize for Lifetime Achievement

Orhan Pamuk was born in 1952 in Istanbul, Turkey. He is the author of eight novels, the memoir Istanbul, and two works of non-fiction. He is the winner of the 2006 Nobel Prize for Literature. The Swedish Academy praised Pamuk, the first Turkish citizen to win the Prize, “who in the quest for the melancholic soul of his native city has discovered new symbols for the clash and interlacing of cultures.” 

My Name Is Red received the French Prix du Meilleur Livre Étranger, the Italian Grinzane Cavour, and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. Snow, which The New York Times named one of the best books of the year, won Le Prix Médicis Étranger and Le Prix Méditerranée Étranger in France. Istanbul was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and The White Castle received the Independent Foreign Fiction Award. Pamuk’s most recent novel, The Museum of Innocence, became an instant bestseller upon its release in Turkey in January 2008, and was published internationally thereafter. His articles have appeared in publications worldwide including The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, The Guardian, Granta, La Repubblica, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), El Pais, and Le Monde. TIME magazine chose him as one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2006. 

Pamuk is an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters as well as the Chinese Academy for Social Sciences. He holds honorary doctorates from universities including Yale University, the Free University of Berlin, and Madrid University. He was the 2009 Charles Eliot Norton Professor at Harvard University, and Harvard University Press will publish a book of his Norton Lectures, The Naïve and the Sentimental Novelist, in November. Pamuk is currently the Robert Yik-Fong Tam Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University. One of Europe’s most prominent novelists, his work has been translated into over fifty languages.

Orhan Pamuk Mailer Prize for Lifetime Achievement Presented by Tina Brown
Mailer Prize for Distinguished Journalism and Humanitarianism

Ruth Gruber

Mailer Prize for Distinguished Journalism and Humanitarianism

At the brink of World War II, Ruth Gruber, then 24, began a career as a journalist, writing for The New York Times and The New York Herald Tribune on women under fascism, communism, and democracy. She became the first foreign correspondent, male or female, allowed to interview pioneers and prisoners in Stalin's Soviet Gulag. 

In 1941, Secretary of the Interior Harold I. Ickes appointed Ruth Gruber as his special assistant. Soon after, President Roosevelt issued an executive order to permit 1,000 Jewish refugees from Naples, Italy to "visit" America as his "guests." Gruber was given an honorary rank of "general," and was sent to secretly meet and escort the refugees throughout the long and treacherous voyage across the Atlantic. Gruber fought on their behalf until they finally were granted U.S. citizenship. 

After the war, Gruber worked for The New York Post reporting on the horrible conditions of the European Jewish refugees in the displaced persons camps. While in Palestine, she learned that a ship named Exodus had been attacked by British
destroyers after attempting to deliver 4,500 refugees. She followed the Jewish prisoners from Exodus to the squalid refugee camps in Cyprus, and by prison ship back to southern France. Ruth Gruber was the only journalist allowed to accompany the refugees back to Germany. Ruth's book about the incident, Destination Palestine: The Story of the Haganah Ship Exodus 1947, was used as source material for the
movie and book Exodus. Thereafter, she continued working as a special foreign correspondent for The New York Herald Tribune

Since 1938 she has written 19 books receiving many awards for her writing and humanitarian acts, including the Na'amat Golda Meir Human Rights Award and awards
from the Simon Wiesenthal Center's Museum of Tolerance.

Ruth Gruber Mailer Prize for Distinguished Journalism and Humanitarianism Presented by Alana Newhouse
Mailer Prize for Lifetime Achievement in Magazine Publishing

Jann Wenner

Mailer Prize for Lifetime Achievement in Magazine Publishing

In 1967 above a small print shop in San Francisco, Jann Wenner, a 20-year-old rock critic enthralled by the burgeoning Bay Area music scene, published the first issue of Rolling Stone. Throughout the magazine’s 43-year history, Wenner’s commitment to quality journalism has kept Rolling Stone in the forefront of the popular dialogue, both recording and shaping the zeitgeist through definitive music coverage, provocative
interviews, award-winning photography and incisive investigative and political reporting. The magazine has won fifteen National Magazine Awards. 

Some of Rolling Stone’s most distinguished literary accomplishments reflect Wenner’s remarkable eye for talent. In 1972 Wenner edited Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail, the following year Annie Leibovitz became the magazine’s chief photographer, and in the 80s, Tom Wolfe defined an era with the epic Bonfire of the Vanities, serialized in Rolling Stone over 27 issues. Most recently, the pages of Rolling Stone have included Matt Taibbi’s Goldman Sachs exposé The Great American Bubble Machine, and The Runaway General, a profile of General Stanley McChrystal by Michael Hastings, that ultimately led to McChrystal’s resignation. Other writers and photographers whose work has appeared in Rolling Stone include Richard Avedon, Howard Kohn, Cameron Crowe, Joe Eszterhas, Joe Klein, Herb Ritts, Mark Seliger and Jonathan Lethem. 

In 1985 Wenner purchased Us magazine, a monthly publication featuring celebrity profiles. After launching as a weekly in 2000, the publication’s readership swiftly grew under Wenner’s leadership, earning industry accolades while spawning a series of imitators in the celebrity category. With circulation rising over 130 percent and the number of readers increasing by ten million, Us Weekly has become one of the publishing industry’s top success stories. In addition to Rolling Stone and Us, Wenner also owns Men’s Journal, which has been nominated for more than a dozen National Magazine Awards.

Jann Wenner Mailer Prize for Lifetime Achievement in Magazine Publishing Presented by Tom Wolfe

2009 Mailer Prize recipients

Mailer Prize for Lifetime Achievement

Toni Morrison

Mailer Prize for Lifetime Achievement

Toni Morrison is the Robert F. Goheen Professor of the Humanities Emerita at the Lewis Center for the Arts, Princeton University. 

Her nine major novels, The Bluest Eye, Sula, Song of Solomon, Tar Baby, Beloved, Jazz, Paradise, Love, and A Mercy, have received extensive critical acclaim. She received the National Book Critics Award in 1978 for Song of Solomon and the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for Beloved

Ms. Morrison has received honorary degrees from Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania, Sarah Lawrence, Oberlin, Dartmouth, Yale, Georgetown, Colombia, Brown, University of Michigan, École Normale Supérieure, Université Paris 7‐ Denis Diderot, and the Université Paris Sorbonne‐Paris IV. She was also the first recipient of the Washington College Literary Award in 1987 and was a New York State Governor’s Arts Awardee in 1986. Other prestigious awards include: the Dun Bois Medal, 2005; the 2000 National Humanities Medal; the 2000 Library of Congress Bicentennial Living Legend Award; the 1996 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters; Rhegium Julii Prize for Literature, 1994; the Condorcet Medal, Paris, 1994; Pearl Buck Award, 1994; Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters, Paris, 1993; the Modern Language Association of America Commonwealth Award in Literature, 1989; Sara Lee Corporation Front Runner Award in the Arts, 1989; Anisfield Wolf Book Award in Race Relations, 1988; the Cleveland Arts Prize in Literature in 1978; and the Distinguished Writer Award of 1978 from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. 

In 1993 Ms. Morrison was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Toni Morrison Mailer Prize for Lifetime Achievement Presented by David Remnick
Mailer Prize for Distinguished Journalism

David Halberstam (1934-2007)

Mailer Prize for Distinguished Journalism

David Halberstam was an American Pulitzer Prize‐winning journalist and author known for his early work on the Vietnam War, his work on politics, history, business, media, and American culture, and his later sports journalism. In the mid‐1960s, Halberstam covered the civil rights movement for The New York Times. In the spring of 1967, he traveled with Martin Luther King from New York City to Cleveland and then to Berkeley for a Harper’s article, “The Second Coming of Martin Luther King.” In 1963, he received a George Polk Award for his reporting at The New York Times, including his eyewitness account of the self‐immolation of Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Quang Duc. At the age of 30, he won a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on the war. 

Halberstam next wrote about President John F. Kennedy‘s foreign policy decisions about the Vietnam War in The Best and the Brightest. After publication of The Best and the Brightest in 1972, Halberstam went to work on his next book, which
became 1979’s The Powers That Be, featuring profiles of media titans like William S. Paley of CBS, Henry Luce of Time magazine, and Phil Graham of The Washington Post. In 1997, Halberstam received the Elijah Parish Lovejoy Award as
well as an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Colby College.

In the wake of 9/11, Halberstam wrote a book about the attacks, Firehouse, which describes in detail Engine 40, Ladder 35 of the New York City Fire Department. The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War, Halberstam’s last book, was
published posthumously in September 2007.

JEAN HALBERSTAM (accepted the award for her husband)
Jean Halberstam is a former reporter in Chicago and New York. She has served on the founding boards of God’s Love We Deliver and Friends In Deed, and is presently a creative consultant for the National Parks of New York Harbor
Conservancy. She is also a fund‐raiser for Teach for America’s David Halberstam Endowment Fund which supports TFA in the Mississippi Delta where David’s professional career began. They were married for thirty years and have one daughter, Julia, a teacher committed to public education.

David Halberstam (1934-2007) Mailer Prize for Distinguished Journalism Presented by Gay Talese to Jean Halberstam