9 Interesting Facts About Kurt Vonnegut

Mr. Kurt Vonnegut is a well loved and respected American novelist whose first novel was published in 1952 - Player Piano.  However, it wasn't until 1969 with the release of Slaughterhouse-Five that he attained a measure commercial and critical success, it being arguably his most famous work.

Following are 9 facts about Vonnegut that you might not have been aware of...


1) He briefly worked as a reporter for Sports Illustrated.

Apparently it was a very short lived relationship and he may not have even lasted long enough to have a story published.  To quote his son: "He was not good at being an employee."

 Steeplechase Jumper

 Vonnegut was assigned to write about an escaped racehorse when working for Sports Illustrated.


2) He survived the bombing of Dresden during World War II by hiding in a meat locker.

Vonnegut was living in a slaughterhouse as a POW when the Allies firebombed the city, so he hid in a locker 3 stories underground and lived to tell the story and used facets of it in his most famous novel - Slaughterhouse-Five.

Firebombing Dresden

Dresden was pretty much obliterated by the Allies in WWII


 3) He opened one of the first SAAB dealerships in the United States in 1957.

That too was short-lived.


4) There’s an asteroid named after him.

On Vonnegut’s 77th birthday in 1999 employees of Arizona’s Fountain Hills Observatory discovered an asteroid, which they named the "25399 Vonnegut".


5) He was a college dropout.

20 years after leaving school, the dean  offered to use Vonnegut’s novel Cat’s Cradle as Vonnegut’s missing dissertation in anthropology studies.

College graduate


6) Cheers was his favorite television show.

In 1991 he said: "I’d rather have written Cheers than anything I’ve written," he said. Although he viewed television generally with skepticism, he made an exception for the long-running sitcom.


7) He continued to smoke because whenever he quit he gained weight - once approaching almost 250lbs.

Over eating


8) He has a memorial library in his hometown.

Visitors to the library in Indianapolis can also see his drawings, examine personal photos, and gaze upon his typewriter, cigarettes, and Purple Heart. The library works to fight censorship, a pet cause for Vonnegut, by giving free copies of Slaughterhouse-Five to students whose schools have banned the book. 


9) He preferred drawing over writing.

He expressed a strong preference to drawing over writing, suggesting that drawing was an enjoyable activity throughout the artistic process, while the only thing that made him happy about writing was a completed book.

Markers were Kurt Vonnegut's tool of choice for drawing


What is your favorite odd-ball fact about an author?


M. Scott, Managing Curator 
Hudson Vintage Pulp and Fine Books

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