|Norman Mailer, one of America's most colorful and acclaimed writers was a larger-than-life figure, almost as famous for picking fights, running for mayor of New York City, directing films, founding The Village Voice, baiting feminists, and stabbing his wife as for his rowdy unabashed novels and brilliant nonfiction work. Critic Anatole Broyard claimed Mailer's "career seems to be a brawl between his talent and his exhibitionism." He was born in New Jersey, but grew up in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn--his father was a dapper businessman and his mother a respected member of the community. He graduated from Harvard University in 1943, and served in the Army from 1943 until 1946, then studied at the Sorbonne on the G.I. Bill. His first novel, THE NAKED AND THE DEAD, was published in 1948; based on his war years, it was an immediate success. In 1955, Mailer founded the Village Voice with two friends. At a party five years later, he stabbed his then wife, Adele, in a drunken argument--something he has called "the biggest regret" of his life. In 1969, Mailer ran for mayor of New York City and lost--in the same year, he won the National Book Award for ARMIES OF THE NIGHT, his nonfiction book about the Vietnam War and the march on the Pentagon. THE EXECUTIONER'S SONG, about the murderer Gary Gilmore, won a Pulitzer in 1980. Mailer's later fiction has had a mixed reception, but in such novels as ANCIENT EVENINGS (1984) and HARLOT'S GHOST (1991), he has continued to explore the reactions of a sensitive, analytical individual in a problematic society. Mailer had six wives, five daughters, and four sons. At the end of his life, diminutive and hobbled by canes, he remained a prolific and controversial writer: in 2007 he published two books, THE CASTLE IN THE FOREST, a novel imagining Hitler's youth from the point of view of a demon, and ON GOD, which described his vision of God as a flawed but brilliant artist--a figure much like Mailer himself. He died of acute renal failure later that year.