Pity the Reader: On Writing With Style (Hardcover)
Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
The art and craft of writing by one of the few grandmasters of American literature, a bonanza for writers and readers written by Kurt Vonnegut's former student.
Here is an entirely new side of Kurt Vonnegut, Vonnegut as a teacher of writing. Of course he's given us glimpses before, with aphorisms and short essays and articles and in his speeches. But never before has an entire book been devoted to Kurt Vonnegut the teacher. Here is pretty much everything Vonnegut ever said or wrote having to do with the writing art and craft, altogether a healing, a nourishing expedition. McConnell has outfitted us for the journey, and in these 37 chapters covers the waterfront of how one American writer brought himself to the pinnacle of the writing art, and we can all benefit as a result.
Kurt Vonnegut was one of the few grandmasters of American literature, whose novels continue to influence new generations about the ways in which our imaginations can help us to live. Few aspects of his contribution have not been plumbed--fourteen novels, collections of his speeches, his essays, his letters, his plays--so this fresh view of him, written by a former student, is a bonanza for writers and readers and Vonnegut fans everywhere.
About the Author
Author, editor and writing teacher Suzanne McConnell was a student of Kurt Vonnegut's at the Iowa Writer's Workshop during its heyday, the period from 1965-67, when Vonnegut, along with Nelson Algren and other notable authors were in residence. This was also the period when Vonnegut was writing his masterpiece, Slaughterhouse Five, and had a lot to say about the writing process. Vonnegut and McConnell became friends, and stayed in touch over the years. She has published short memoirs of him in The Brooklyn Rail and The Writer's Digest, and led a panel at the 2014 AWP conference on Vonnegut's legacy, titled "Vonnegut's Legacy: Writing about War and Other Debacles of the Human Condition." McConnell has taught writing at Hunter College for thirty years and, outside of the university setting, to pretty much all ages in a wide range of settings. She is Fiction Editor for the Bellevue Literary Review. Her own fiction won First Prize in the 2015 New Ohio Review's Fiction Contest, First Prize in the 2014 Prime Number Magazine Awards for Flash Fiction, and has been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize. An excerpt from her novel, [add title here], won Second Prize in the 2008 So to Speak's Fiction Contest. She lives in New York City and Wellfleet, MA, with her husband, the artist Gary Kuehn.
“Pity us not at all! What could be more welcome than Kurt Vonnegut’s acerbic writing advice expertly illuminated by veteran teacher/writer/editor Suzanne McConnell. A timely book for writers, readers, teachers and book-lovers alike. It’s unsentimental, unvarnished, and 100 percent treacle-free. If you’ve longed to be under Vonnegut’s spell once again, this is the book for you.” —Danielle Ofri, MD, author of What Patients Say, What Doctors Hear and editor-in-chief of the Bellevue Literary Review
"I hate getting advice, personally. This is not that kind of book—it complains grumpily about the discomfort required to write truthfully and it celebrates the long history of art as 'a very human way of making life more bearable.' In short, it reminds us of the important things. Suzanne McConnell takes us eloquently into the joys of rediscovering Vonnegut, in a guide that will be profoundly useful to writers thinking about fiction’s purposes as well as its methods." —Joan Silber, author of Improvement, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award
"Irresistible, big-hearted and helpful to writers at whatever stage of their craft or their life. This is such a rich, generous book about writing and reading and Kurt Vonnegut as writer, teacher, and friend, that I find myself at a loss for the right good words. It’s a breeze to read. Every page brings pleasure and insight. It captures the spirit of the man some of us were lucky enough to know and gives future generations a sense of him as a teacher and writer. It traces how Vonnegut grew as a writer and how his writing took shape. I have read it three times now and find it not only a meticulous homage and worthy memorial to a great human being and a lasting writer, but a true help, for all of us at any age, who yearn to write with style.” —Gail Godwin, bestselling author of A Southern Family among many others novels, and the forthcoming Old Lovegood Girls