The WCR Center for the Arts, in partnership with the Albright College English Department, Reading Public Library, Village Library, and the Wyomissing Public Library, is excited to invite Kurt Vonnegut fans to remember and celebrate the author’s 100th birthday on Friday, November 11th. Doors will open at 6 PM, and the program will begin at 7 PM. Admission is free. The WCR Center for the Arts is located at 140 North 5th Street Reading.
The celebration, “Happy Birthday, Mr. Vonnegut,” will include refreshments, film clips, dramatic readings, raffle prizes, and birthday cake. In the spirit of Mr. Vonnegut, the evening will also feature a Doodle Wall, jazz music, selfie stand, and books/merchandise for sale. Proceeds from the sales will benefit the three libraries and future programming at the WCR Center for the Arts.
Born in Indianapolis, IN on November 11, 1922, Vonnegut became a prolific writer, publishing 14 novels, 3 short-story collections, and 5 plays, among other works.
He left Cornell University, where he was majoring in biochemistry, and enlisted in the US Army in 1943 where he served as an advance scout during the Battle of the Bulge. He was captured by the Germans and spent time in a prisoner-of war camp, where he witnessed the firebombing of Dresden in 1945. He re-created that horrific event in his novel, Slaughterhouse-Five, which was published in 1969. His first novel, Player Piano, was published in 1952. Other works include Cat’s Cradle, Breakfast of Champions and Happy Birthday, Wanda June. He died at the age of 84 in New York City in April, 2007.
James Speese, Ph.D., a Lecturer in the English Department at Albright College, will serve as Master of Ceremonies for the event. Dr. Speese’s specialty is post-WWII American Literature. This is what he says about Kurt Vonnegut: “… In these strange times, it seems the perfect day to celebrate the life and work of one of America’s most beloved, humorous, profound, and profane authors. The mix of absurdity and wisdom in Vonnegut’s novels, short stories, essays and interviews are absolutely ripe for re-examination, exploration, and celebration. We will also ‘fart around,’ of course, which is what Vonnegut had argued we were put on this Earth to do.
Sponsors and donors for this event include: Bullfrog Films, Firefly Bookstore, Mike Miller, Reading Distilling Guild, and Sweet Street Desserts.
As Vonnegut said, “If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.”