Kurt Vonnegut the teacher: An assignment from his writing class


Kurt Vonnegut, the counterculture author whose works include Slaughterhouse-Five, Cat’s Cradle, Breakfast of Champions and Mother Night, was for several years an instructor at the well-respected Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

In a new book, Kurt Vonnegut: Letters, one of Vonnegut’s class assignments is reprinted. The assignment fits the book’s theme because Vonnegut often composed his assignments as letters to his students.

One of our favorite lines:

I invite you to read the fifteen tales in Masters of the Modern Short Story (W. Havighurst, editor, 1955, Harcourt, Brace, $14.95 in paperback). Read them for pleasure and satisfaction, beginning each as though, only seven minutes before, you had swallowed two ounces of very good booze. “Except ye be as little children …”

See the full assignment at Slate.