Author Kurt Vonnegut. (By WNET-TV/ PBS (eBay front back) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons).
Author Kurt Vonnegut. (By WNET-TV/ PBS (eBay front back) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons).

Towson U., BCPS team up to teach Vonnegut


For decades, bookish teenagers have embraced the work of novelist Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007), devouring book after book with a nearly fanatical devotion that eventually fades but leaves fond memories as they move into adulthood.

Vonnegut’s best-known works include “Slaughterhouse-Five,” which incorporated his own memories of the firebombing of Dresden; “Cat’s Cradle”‘ and “Breakfast of Champions,” which included numerous sketches by the author, including a self-portrait that shows one of his…well…less public sides.

Next month, Towson University, Baltimore City Public Schools and the Indianapolis-based Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library will coach area teachers in practical ways to teach Vonnegut’s work — and perhaps ignite that passion for the author’s unique brand of dark humor in their students.

The library’s director of education, Max Goller, said in a statement that he believes the issues explored in Vonnegut’s work —environmentalism, militarism, human rights, censorship and the place of religion in civic life — remain relevant to today’s world.

“Students will find his humor and insights into the human condition fascinating and challenging,” Goller said.

Deborah Nolan, Towson’s dean of libraries, said in a statement that the Vonnegut program was a way for the university to help  foster intellectual inquiry and critical thinking.

The professional development course includes online workshops as well as an in-person session scheduled to be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on April 9 in the Towson Room of the university’s Cook Library. Registration details can be found here.

Participants will NOT be required to provide intimate, Vonnegut-style sketches of themselves.

So it goes.

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