Kurt Vonnegut

On this date in 1922, author Kurt Vonnegut Jr was born in Indianapolis, Indiana. His books and short stories, including social satire, black comedy and science fiction, often take a tragi-comic turn. Life-altering experiences included his mother's suicide on Mother's Day 1944 while he was home on leave, and surviving as a prisoner of war the Allied bombing that destroyed Dresden. His first novel, Player Piano, was published in 1954, followed by The Sirens of Titan (1959), Mother Night (1961), Cat's Cradle (1963), God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater; Or, Pearls Before Swine (1965), Slaughterhouse Five (1969), Breakfast of Champions (1973), and many others. Several collections of his short stories and essays have also been published, such as God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian (1999). In his novel Slaughterhouse Five, Vonnegut wrote: "During world War II, while I was serving with the Third Army in Germany, I removed a belt buckle from the uniform of a dead German soldier. The lettering on the buckle read Gott Mit Uns (God Is With Us)." Vonnegut was named Humanist of the Year of the American Humanist Association, and became its honorary president. He was also named a Humanist Laureate. D. 2007.

“I am an atheist (or at best a Unitarian who winds up in churches quite a lot).”

—Kurt Vonnegut Jr, Fates Worse Than Death: An Autobiographical Collage of the 1980s (1991)

Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor

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