Suzanne McConnell - "Pity the Reader: On Writing with Style" - in conversation with Dick Hermans

Event date: 
Tuesday, December 3, 2019 - 6:00pm
Event address: 
Oblong Rhinebeck
6422 Montgomery Street
Rhinebeck, NY 12572

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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 so this fresh view of him by his close friend and former student, Suzanne McConnell, is a bonanza for writers and readers and Vonnegut fans everywhere.

Suzanne McConnellPity the Reader by Jurt Vonnegut and Suzanne McConnellDick Hermans

Author, editor, and writing teacher Suzanne McConnell was a student of Kurt Vonnegut’s at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop from 1965 to 1967, when Vonnegut—along with Nelson Algren and other notable authors—was in residence and finishing his masterpiece, Slaughterhouse-Five. Vonnegut and McConnell became friends and stayed so for the rest of his life. 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 titled “Vonnegut’s Legacy: Writing About War and Other Debacles of the Human Condition.” McConnell taught writing at Hunter College for thirty years, and she serves as the fiction editor of the Bellevue Literary Review. Twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize, McConnell's fiction also won first prize in the New Ohio Review’s 2015 Fiction Contest, first prize in Prime Number Magazine’s 2014 Awards for Flash Fiction, and second prize in So to Speak’s 2008 Fiction Contest. She lives in New York City and Wellfleet, Massachusetts, with her husband, the artist Gary Kuehn.

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, 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. She will talk with Dick Hermans about the lessons we can glean from the book and about her life experience in working with Vonnegut.

Oblong Books & Music in Rhinebeck is a fully wheelchair accessible space with on-site van accessible parking. Microphones and speakers will not be used at this event [but can be made available with advance notice]. If you have specific questions about the space or how an event can be made more accessible to you, please do not hesitate to contact us: info@oblongbooks.com.