Norman Mailer visits the Kelly Writers House

February 26, 2004

This program was co-sponsored by the Office of the President (Judith Rodin) and the Dean of the School of Arts & Sciences (Sam Preston).

The visit

At 2 PM in the Arts Cafe, Norman Mailer met with twenty Writers House-affiliated students to discuss his new book, Why Are We At War? (about the Iraq conflict) as well as his other writings, the life of the writer, etc. The participants were: Peter Schwarz, Jamie-Lee Josselyn, Andrew Zitcer, Christy Bunner, Robert Blum, Lauren Rile, Kerry Cooperman, Molly Chaill, Jacob Cytryn, Yona Silverman, Erin Sweeney, Ariel Djanikian, Jenny Suen, Richard Lawrence, Arielle Brousse, Annie Cobb, Phil Sandick, Alexandrea Halpern, and Blake Martin. The session was moderated by Al Filreis and introduced by Robert Lucid.

At 6 PM in the Arts Cafe: A conversation with Norman Mailer. Mailer met with sixty members of the Writers House community for a session, co-led by Al Filreis and Robert Lucid, entitled "The Spooky Art." The Spooky Art is the title given to Mailer's recent collection of essays, reviews, and interviews. This session was recorded and is available here.


Norman Mailer discusses, among other things, his recent book Why Are We At War? with Penn undergrads in the Arts Cafe of the Writers House. He is seen here flanked by Dr. Alan Filreis (left) and Dr. Robert Lucid (right).

Bob Lucid introduces Norman Mailer by holding up the cover of a Pennsylvania Gazette from 19__ that featured Mailer on its cover.

Norman Mailer discusses the craft of writing with University representatives, including Judith Rodin, and members of the Creative Writing faculty.


  1. Introduction by Al Filreis (3:05)
  2. Introduction by Bob Lucid (5:02)
  3. Introduction by himself (2:15)
  4. On An American Dream and the nature of reality (5:05)
  5. On black sexuality (3:40)
  6. On boxing metaphor (2:01)
  7. On character writing (3:19)
  8. On choosing subject matter (3:53)
  9. On fact versus fiction (6:10)
  10. On inescapable experience and writing (2:34)
  11. On novel writing (4:26)
  12. On Philip Roth (2:50)
  13. On reading (3:51)
  14. On role models (5:20)
  15. On running for Mayor (1:17)
  16. On swagger (4:45)
  17. On the draw of the writer today (1:47)
  18. On The Naked and The Dead in Russia (3:26)
  19. On violence (4:05)
  20. On young writers (2:33)

Complete reading (1:13:37)