06 November 2014

This Armistice Day, Celebrate Veterans and Vonnegut

PHOTO: Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library
Working with other community partners Nov. 7-8, the non-profit Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library (K.V.M.L.), Indianapolis, Ind. will conduct and participate in VonnegutFest 2014, an annual celebration of the writer, artist, and Indianapolis-born Kurt Vonnegut.

Vonnegut was notably born on Armistice Day—what would later become Veterans Day—and his experiences as a prisoner of war in World War II Dresden served as the foundation for his satirical 1969 novel "Slaughterhouse Five."

VonnegutFest events include "Veterans Reclaiming Armistice Day":
As a part of the Spirit and Place Festival, the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library presents "Veterans Reclaim Armistice Day". At 2 p.m., the event will kick off with an Art Resource Fair in the lobby of Central Library [40 E. St. Clair St.
Indianapolis]. From 3-4 p.m., there will be a panel discussion, moderated by National Public Radio Iraq War Correspondant Kelly McKevers, featuring Magnus Johnson of Elder Heart, Olivia Cobiskey, and Director of the Indiana Department of Veteran Affairs Jim Brown. The Art Resource Fair will remain open during the panel discussion. Following the panel discussion, Central library will be sponsoring Career Services for Veterans.
From 12 noon to 1:30 p.m. and located at the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library, 340 N Senate Ave., Indianapolis, the KVML will celebrate the release of its third annual edition of its literary journal, "So It Goes." Contributors will read from their work, and an art exhibit titled "Billy Pilgrim's War Chest" will also be available for viewing.

Visit the KVML website here.

For a KVML Facebook page, click here.

Even if you can't attend VonnegutFest 2014 in person, consider reading this extensive and entertaining Paris Review interview from Spring 1977, in which Vonnegut talks of his military training and post-war experiences, and of writing them down. Here's an excerpt:
Others had so much more to write about. I remember envying Andy Rooney, who jumped into print at that time; I didn’t know him, but I think he was the first guy to publish his war story after the war; it was called Air Gunner. Hell, I never had any classy adventure like that. But every so often I would meet a European and we would be talking about the war and I would say I was in Dresden; he’d be astonished that I’d been there, and he’d always want to know more. Then a book by David Irving was published about Dresden, saying it was the largest massacre in European history. I said, By God, I saw something after all! I would try to write my war story, whether it was interesting or not, and try to make something out of it.
Or check out these two amusing and educational "Crash Course" YouTube videos by fellow Hoosier John Green, which explore the themes of Vonnegut's "Slaughterhouse Five":

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