Monday, 28 October 2013

LETTERS OF NOTE: The Return of Kurt Vonnegut

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Today's Letter of Note returns us to our old friend Kurt Vonnegut, one of my favourite science fiction authors who has become something of a regular on this blog.

Back in 2006, students at Xavier High School, New York City were given an assignment: to write letters to their favourite authors, attempting to persuade them to come and visit. Five of the pupils wrote to Vonnegut, then in his eighties, and he was the only person who responded. His response contains some warm thanks, a little good advice and a curious final instruction, which you can read in full here.
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One of the recurring themes in the Letters of Note I've posted has been the relationship between creative artists and the education systems. At one end we've had the battles of Vonnegut, Harper Lee and Mark Twain to prevent their books from being banned from schools; at the other we've had students writing to Francis Ford Coppola and Alfred Hitchcock. Not only are all these letters entertaining to read, but they should make obvious how much influence artists can have on the cultural and personal development of young people - influence that I believe should always be encouraged.
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If you're in search of more Kurt Vonnegut, click here for other letters from him or check out my review of Twelve Monkeys, heavily influenced by his novel Slaughterhouse-Five. If you want more Letters of Note, you can now buy the Letters of Note book here. So it goes.

Daniel

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