Vonnegut Trivia and The Vonnegut Encyclopedia

Here’s this week’s question:

Q: In the original production of Kurt Vonnegut’s play Happy Birthday, Wanda June, the young actor Steven Paul played the part of Paul Ryan.  What is Steven Paul’s other connection to the work of Kurt Vonnegut?

a) He directed the film adaptation of Slapstick

b) He had a supporting role in the film version of Mother Night

c) He played Harold Ryan in a future production of Wanda June

d) He did the narration for the audio book of Slaughterhouse-Five

Check back next week for the answer.  The correct response to last week’s question was D – Walter Starbuck met his wife Ruth at a post-WW2 refugee camp.

For serious Vonnegut fans, there is no better resource than Marc Leeds’ The Vonnegut Encyclopedia, a revised edition of which was published by Delacorte Press in 2016.  For more on the Encyclopedia, here’s a recent review from the Irish Journal of American Studies.

The Vonnegut Encyclopedia

You can also read Leeds’ interview with The Daily Vonnegut.

Marc Leeds – The Vonnegut Encyclopedia  

Finally, here’s a clip of a 2018 appearance in which Marc discusses Kurt Vonnegut and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.   

Vonnegut Trivia – Week of July 8, 2018

This week’s question is from Jailbird, first published in 1979.

Q: Where did Walter Starbuck meet Ruth, his first wife?

a) At a Harvard sorority party

b) In Federal Prison

c) At a staff meeting for the Nixon White House

d) At a refugee camp in post-WW2 Europe

Check back next week for the answer.  The correct response to last week’s question was B – Player Piano is set in Ilium, New York.

For more, here’s a recording of Kurt Vonnegut, from 1969, reading his story “Go Back to Your Precious Wife and Son.”

Philip Roth, Father’s Day, and Weekly Trivia – June 17, 2018

The Daily Vonnegut mourns the recent passing of the great American novelist Philip Roth.  Vonnegut’s Jailbird and Roth’s The Ghost Writer were both Main Selections of the Book of the Month Club in September 1979–a marvelous month to be a reader.

This week’s question is about Kurt Vonnegut Sr.

Q: What was Kurt Vonnegut Senior’s occupation?

a) Doctor

b) Architect

c) Hardware store owner

d) Pharmacist

Check back next week for the answer.  The correct response to last week’s question was D – The Sirens of Titan was Vonnegut’s second published novel.

In celebration of Father’s Day, here’s a video of Mark Vonnegut discussing his father’s life and work.

Vonnegut Trivia – Week of June 10, 2018

While traveling in Scotland last week, I encountered two Vonnegut fans who noticed my Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library baseball cap and shared their appreciation for Vonnegut’s work.  Kurt’s appeal is truly global.

This week’s question tests our readers chronological knowledge.

Q: Which of the following titles was Vonnegut’s second published novel?

a) Player Piano

b) Canary in a Coal Mine

c) Mother Night

D) The Sirens of Titan

Check back next week for the answer.  The correct response to our previous question was B – Vonnegut taught at the University of Iowa during the 1960’s.

For more, check out this 1983 interview.

Vonnegut Trivia – Week of May 27, 2018

Sadly, Loree Rackstraw, a long time friend of Kurt Vonnegut, has passed away.  Rackstraw’s 2009 memoir, Love, As Always, Kurt, is an engaging recollection of her time as one of Vonnegut’s writing students as well as her ongoing friendship with Kurt after graduation.  A professor at the University of Northern Iowa as well as a former editor of The North American Review, Rackstraw also wrote several academic articles about Vonnegut’s work.  For more, see this recent piece from The Courier.

This week’s question is about Vonnegut’s teaching career:

Q: At which university did Kurt Vonnegut teach creative writing during the mid-1960’s?

a) Bennington

b) The University of Iowa

c) The University of Northern Iowa

d) Grinnell College

Check back next week for the answer.  The correct response to last week’s question was B – “Now It’s The Women’s Turn” was the name of the painting revealed to Circe Berman at the end of Bluebeard.

For more, here’s a 1998 clip of Kurt Vonnegut and Lee Stringer discussing writing and creativity.


Vonnegut Trivia – Week of May 20, 2018

This week’s question is from Bluebeard, published in 1987.

Q: What is the name of the painting in the potato barn revealed to Circe Berman at the end of the novel?

a) Windsor Blue Number Seventeen

b) Now It’s The Women’s Turn

c) The Unforeseen Wilderness

d) Bluebeard

Check back next week for the answer.  The correct response to last week’s question was A – Kurt’s mother tried to earn money writing fiction during the Great Depression.

For more, here’s a 1999 episode of Bookworm, hosted by Michael Silverblatt.  Recorded after the release of Bogambo Snuff Box, Vonnegut discusses his early short fiction.

Vonnegut Trivia – Week of May 13, 2018

For Mother’s Day, here’s a question about Edith Sophia Lieber Vonnegut, Kurt’s mother.

Q: During the Great Depression, Kurt’s mother Edith tried to earn money through which creative endeavor?

a) Fiction writing

b) Landscape Painting

c) Portrait Painting

d) Playing cello in the Indianapolis orchestra

Check back next week for the answer.  The correct response to our last question is A – The Holiday Inn is the setting for a pivotal scene in Breakfast of Champions.

Here’s a rare of clip of Kurt discussing his artwork in an October 2000 interview with Donald Friedman.

Readers interested in Vonnegut’s art should pick up a copy of Kurt Vonnegut Drawings, which featured contributions from Vonnegut scholar Peter Reed and Kurt’s daughter, Nanette.

Kurt Vonnegut Drawings