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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 September 2005, 09:03 GMT 10:03 UK
Lifetime award for author Mailer
Norman Mailer
Norman Mailer is one of the major US writers of the 20th century.
Author Norman Mailer is to be given a lifetime achievement medal by the US-based National Book Foundation.

Renowned and often controversial, the US writer was described as being a "major figure" in American literature, whose work had "changed the landscape".

He will be presented with the 2005 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters in November.

Mailer won the Pulitzer Prize twice - for The Armies of the Night in 1968 and The Executioner's Song in 1979.

Biting prose

Born in 1923 in New Jersey, Mailer has written dozens of books as well as plays, poems, screenplays and essays. He was co-founder of The Village Voice alternative newspaper in New York.

He is known for his biting prose and as an antagonist of the feminist movement.

His first major success, the novel The Naked and the Dead, was a fictionalised account based on his experiences in the Army in World War II.

"Mailer has long been considered a major figure in post-war American literature whose innovative works of fiction and non-fiction have changed the landscape of American writing," said the foundation, which presents the National Book Awards.

The foundation will present the award to Mailer on 16 November, at its National Book Awards ceremony. Finalists for the annual awards will be announced on 12 October.

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