Ladies & Gentlemen of A.D. 2088

Back in 1988, as part of an ad campaign to be printed in Time magazine, Volkswagen approached a number of notable thinkers and asked them to write a letter to the future—some words of advice to those living in 2088, to be precise. Many agreed, including novelist Kurt Vonnegut; his letter can be read below. (Source: TIME,

Make your soul grow

In 2006, a group of students at Xavier High School in New York City were given an assignment by their English teacher, Ms. Lockwood, that was to test their persuasive writing skills: they were asked to write to their favourite author and ask him or her to visit the school. It’s a measure of his

There’s no hope in war

In November of 1967,  Kurt Vonnegut wrote the following letter to the US government in defense of his son, Mark, who had recently refused to fight in the Vietnam War. (Source: Kurt Vonnegut: Letters–reprinted with permission.) November 28, 1967 To Draft Board #1, Selective Service,Hyannis, Mass. Gentlemen: My son Mark Vonnegut is registered with you. He is now

If I’m not a writer then I’m nothing

In October of 1949, while working in public relations at General Electric, 27-year-old aspiring writer Kurt Vonnegut sold his first story to Collier’s; just over a year later, he quit said job and began life as a freelance writer. The following two letters, both from Vonnegut, offer an intriguing glimpse into his mind during that period

I am very real

In October of 1973, Bruce Severy — a 26-year-old English teacher at Drake High School, North Dakota — decided to use Kurt Vonnegut‘s novel, Slaughterhouse-Five, as a teaching aid in his classroom. The next month, on November 7th, the head of the school board, Charles McCarthy, demanded that all 32 copies be burned in the school’s furnace

Dear Mr. Vonnegut

In 1949, just a few years after surviving the bombing of Dresden as a POW, 27-year-old aspiring author Kurt Vonnegut submitted a written account of the event to The Atlantic Monthly for consideration, along with two other pieces. Below is the rejection letter he later received from the publication’s editor at the time, Edward Weeks.

It is the woman who pays

Says Marianne: “In 1990 my husband passed on; I was 36-years-old and left with 3 small children. For some reason I wrote to Kurt Vonnegut and thanked him for his books and his compassion. I did not expect a reply. He must have been a kind man, as he sent this to me within a

This is Kurt Vonnegut, reporting from the afterlife

In a 1997 letter to Manhattan-based radio station WNYC, author Kurt Vonnegut pitches his idea for a series of fictional interviews with the deceased. In fact the idea came to fruition and numerous 90-second segments — one of which can be heard here — were subsequently broadcast, with interviewees ranging from the non-famous through to

A lot of people believe that beauty is some kind of conspiracy

August 1981, in a bid to gain some high-profile support for a fledgling theatre company with which he was involved, John Carey wrote a letter to author Kurt Vonnegut and asked for his backing. Below is Vonnegut’s generous, insightful reply. Transcript follows. Image courtesy of John Carey. Image: John Carey Transcript 228 E 48 NYC

I have put out a contract on Salman Rushdie

June, 1998: Kurt Vonnegut writes a light-hearted letter to Avatar Prabhu – pseudonym of the author Richard Crasta – in response to Crasta’s controversial novel, The Revised Kama Sutra, being dedicated to the Slaughterhouse Five novelist. Vonnegut closes the missive by amusingly taking a swipe at Salman Rushdie who, whilst in hiding years previous, had written a less-than-glowing

Our government doesn’t give a fuck about our troops

From celebrated humanist, author and one-time prisoner of war, the late-Kurt Vonnegut, comes a 1991 letter to activist Robert Henry Walz, in which the Slaughterhouse Five novelist responds to a request for assistance with regards to the support of American war veterans. Writing just four months after the end of the Gulf War, Vonnegut was

Fraternally, Brother Vonnegut

In 1989, eager to seek feedback from an established, highly influential author, and in an effort to simply reach out to a long-time inspiration, first-time novelist Mark Lindquist wrote to his idol, Kurt Vonnegut. Some time later a reply materialised in the form of the admirably gracious typewritten letter seen below, in which Vonnegut spoke of

Slaughterhouse Five

In December of 1944, whilst behind enemy lines during the Rhineland Campaign, 22-year-old Private Kurt Vonnegut was captured by Wehrmacht troops and subsequently became a prisoner of war. A month later, Vonnegut and his fellow PoWs reached a Dresden work camp where they were imprisoned in an underground slaughterhouse known by German soldiers as “Schlachthof