Kurt Vonnegut Remembered: An Interview with Jim O’Loughlin

Kurt Vonnegut Remembered, recently published by The University of Alabama Press, is a must-read for Vonnegut fans as it traces the author’s life through a series of essays and recollections from those who knew him best.  The list of contributors ranges from well-known media figures like Geraldo Rivera and Michael Moore to Vonnegut family members and fellow soldiers who served with Kurt in World War II.  In these pages you’ll find John Irving, Gail Godwin, Peter Fonda, and John Updike along with familiar names like Jerome Klinkowitz, Donald Farber, and Loree Rackstraw.

At the helm of this treasure trove of Vonnegut history is Jim O’Loughlin, who edited the collection and, in his Introductions to each section, provides context for what follows.  Kurt Vonnegut Remembered leaves readers with a new appreciation for Kurt Vonnegut the author as well as Kurt Vonnegut, human being. 

Purchase your copy here.    

O’Loughlin shared his thoughts with The Daily Vonnegut.       

Q: Kurt Vonnegut Remembered is a gift for any Vonnegut fan, the equivalent of an oral history of Vonnegut’s life.  How did you come to be involved with the project?

A: I like that characterization: “an oral history of Vonnegut’s life,” and I may steal it from you. Two of my former colleagues at the University of Northern Iowa, Laurie Rackstraw and Jerome Klinkowitz, had important personal connections with Vonnegut, and the North American Review (housed at UNI) runs an annual Kurt Vonnegut Speculative Fiction Prize, so this is a part of our institutional heritage and I feel I’m doing my part to maintain it.

Q: What were some of the challenges in tracking down the different reminiscences and recollections included in the book?

A: Much of my prior critical writing has involved older subjects and long deceased authors. However, the majority of the people writing about Vonnegut are still very much alive.  Dead people tend to be easier to work with, but you don’t get as much feedback <insert rimshot>. Actually, writers I corresponded with for this project were extremely generous and happy to see interest in a figure who had influenced them. The problems I faced tended to be technical, such as figuring out who controlled the rights to a particular piece or carrying out permissions fee negotiations in Spanish.

Read the complete interview here: Kurt Vonnegut Remembered: An Interview with Jim O’Loughlin.

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