‘My Husband is a Potential Chekov’

Jane and Kurt Vonnegut, 1946 (courtesy Kit Vonnegut) In 1945, while Kurt was still in the Army, Jane Vonnegut enthusiastically joined her new husband’s quest to become a published fiction writer. Married only two months, she found a New York agent with the...

Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee

I wrote an entirely new Chapter 1 for the new edition of Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee (Holt 2006; rev. 2016). The idea to open the biography at a low point in the her life, instead during childhood was suggested by Garrison Keillor in a review of the first...

‘Most Of Us Have A Place Where Our Hearts Come Home’

Vonnegut at Lake Maxikuckee _________________________________ When summer came, everything was always better. There was a second home for the Vonneguts where the sunlight put a blush on everyone’s face, and the water for swimming and bathing was pure as rainwater. The...

Tough Guy— Knox Burger, An Appreciation

Knox Burger Knox Burger and Kurt Vonnegut had been acquaintances at Cornell University in the early 1940s, when Knox was editor of the humor magazine on campus, The Widow, and Kurt was a reporter for the Cornell Daily Sun. Both had enlisted in the Army during World...

What I Found in the Papers of a Southern Diehard

Hudson Strode John Wilkes Booth In the hallways of the Hoole Library at the University of Alabama hang life-size portraits of Southern generals. Their dove gray uniforms, scarlet sashes, and courtly poses indicate that they are gentlemen and romantic honor is...

In Which I Attend Anglophiles Anonymous and Come Clean at Last

Need I say more?! (A room at the local community center visited by a somber (and sober) band of brothers and sisters at 7 pm. Three rows of folding chairs are quickly taken up. They are men and women from every walk of life. After a few introductory remarks by the...

Commie Splice: When the CIA Funded the Iowa Writers Workshop

Paul Engle In the late 1940s, Washington didn’t take it for granted that the defeat of Nazism and friendly GIs handing out chocolate bars would guarantee that people in Western Europe would support democratic governments, or that European states would oppose the...

The ‘Holy Fool’ Who was Billy Pilgrim

Edward R. ‘Joe’ Crone The slaughterhouse in Dresden that served as POW camp, until the firebombing of February 1945. While Kurt Vonnegut was a POW in Dresden during World War II, food became an obsession. To dull the ache in his belly and sharpen his wits,...

Jewell, Amelia (Wid) 113 Walnut Tel: 3601

Amelia Jewell and son, John Ed Novelist John Williams, author of Stoner, was born John Edward Jewell in Clarksville, Texas in 1922. His mother, Amelia had not been married long to J.E. Jewell when he was either murdered, or ran off when John was still an infant....