Forthcoming Class July 29–Aug 2, 2024, 9am–12pm:  “The Big Click:  How to Shape a Story: What keeps a reader reading?  What’s at the heart of a story? “I guarantee you,” Kurt Vonnegut said, that no story “…will give a reader genuine satisfaction unless one of those old-fashioned plots is smuggled in somewhere.” Using the “Practices” and text on plot in Pity the Reader:  On Writing with Style by Kurt Vonnegut and Suzanne McConnell, we will scope out the nature of plot.  We will visit re-visions.  We will conjure, shape, knead, and shift our own plotlines and stories.  Register at Castle Hill, Truro Center for the Arts, Truro, MA

See: Tips for students and teachers about reading Pity the Reader

Reading at Hunter College’s Junior Year in New York Program, New York, NY 1988

“Our ability to read…makes us the freest of women and men–and children…” – Kurt Vonnegut


  • Wellfleet Library, Wellfleet, MA, 2020
  • Politics & Prose, Connecticut Ave., Washington D.C., 2020
  • Dixon Place, New York, NY, “Something’s Happening Here: Kurt Vonnegut and the 60s Zeitgeist,” with Mark Berger and songs performed by Christopher Sears, 2019
  • Oblong Books, Rhinebeck, NY, Conversation with owner, Dick Herman, 2019
  • Canio’s Books, Sag Harbor, NY, 2019
  • Oddysey Books, South Hadley, MA, 2019
  • Brookline Booksmith, MA, 2019
  • Strand Bookstore, New York, NY Pity The Reader book launch and conversation with Ginger Strand moderated by Dan Simon
  • AWP Off-site, “Two Hats: A Reading by Writers Who Are Editors,” Los Angeles, CA 2016
  • Writer’s Read, The Cell Theatre, “Heaven on Earth,” New York, NY, 2015 
  • Writer’s Read, The Cell Theatre, NYC, “Papa,” Father’s Day, New York, NY, 2014
  • Editors of Bellevue Literary Review reading, KGB Bar, New York, NY, 2014
  • New York Public Library, “Periodically Speaking: The Magathon” (74:55 on video), New York, NY, 2010 


  • BBC Radio 4, participant, “Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut,” The Exploding Library, Dec. 9 & 13, 2021
  • American Academy, Berlin, DE, Distinguished Visitor Lecture, “Kurt Vonnegut: How Being in the Firebombing of Dresden as a Prisoner of War Changed his life and work”, 2021
  • Bard College, Berlin, DE, “Pity the Reader: Kurt Vonnegut as Teacher,” 2021
  • Vonnegut Museum and Library, 10th Anniversary Celebration, Indianapolis, IN, virtual panel discussion, “Vonnegut and the Environment,” 2021
  • Iowa Public Radio, “Talk of Iowa Book Club,” discussion about Kurt Vonnegut’s novel Mother Night, 2021
  • Reading Hope in Trying Times – A series of writers speaking about hope and endurance during the pandemic of Covid-19, sponsored by Brian Allain, founder of Writing for Your Life, resources for spiritual writers, 2020 
  • Moderator, symposium on emerging play at New Jersey Performing Arts Center, sponsored by New Jersey Theatre Alliance, April 29, 2016
  • Speech on Kurt Vonnegut as a teacher and writer for “Night of Vonnegut” at the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library, April 19, 2014
  • Moderator and panelist, “Vonnegut’s Legacy: Writing about War and Other Debacles of the Human Condition,” presented at Associated Writing Programs Conference, 2014
  • Speech honoring William Harrison, my first writing teacher, at the Arkansas Festival of Writers (which commemorated the 40th anniversary of the University of Arkansas’ MFA program, which he went on to establish), 2008

Wellfleet Library Presentation on Pity the Reader with Q&A.

Granfalllon Conference, Bloomington, IN, 2019