Guest speaker's presentation to be on Jones, Mailer, Styron

Guest speaker's presentation to be on Jones, Mailer, Styron

CHARLESTON — J. Michael Lennon, the authorized biographer of Norman Mailer, will be the guest speaker during the sixth annual James Jones Lecture on Thursday at Eastern Illinois University.

Lennon's presentation, "James Jones, Norman Mailer and William Styron: The Three Best Young Writers in America, 1952," will take place at 5 p.m. in the Doudna Fine Arts Center Lecture Hall. The lecture is free and open to the public.

In addition to being World War II veterans, Jones, Styron and Mailer were the best of friends in the early '50s, according to Lennon.

Each had a successful first novel, with Jones' being "From Here to Eternity," published in 1951.

The three writers socialized at the Connecticut country homes of Mailer and Styron and in New York. Mailer and his wife also visited Jones at his writers' colony in Marshall, Ill.

Jones was a native of nearby Robinson.

The trio's friendship would last until the mid-'50s and then collapsed after a tragic misunderstanding. Years later they reconciled.

Lennon's lecture will examine the fame that brought the three novelists together and then swept them apart.

He is the past president of the Norman Mailer Society and James Jones Literary Society. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, Paris Review, Mailer Review, James Jones Literary Society Journal, Playboy, Creative Nonfiction, New York and other publications.

He is currently editing Mailer's letters and writing the authorized biography to be published by Simon & Schuster in 2013.

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