Kurt Vonnegut was born in Indianapolis in 1922 and studied biochemistry at Cornell University. After serving in Europe during the Second World War, he specialised in anthropology at the University of Chicago before becoming a full-time writer. Author of more than fifteen published novels, Vonnegut is perhaps best described as a social satirist. A writer of almost prophetic vision, his work not only covers a wide variety of genres, including science fiction, but also often mixes genres within the same book. His amazing versatility and imaginative range have earned him international acclaim for his novels, which include ‘Player Piano’, ‘Slaughterhouse-Five’, ‘Deadeye Dick’ and ‘Bluebeard’. Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., was born on the eleventh day of November, 1922, in Indianapolis, Indiana. His birth date, which fell on Armistice Day, would prove to be an omen for his pacifist views. He was the grandson of the first licensed architect in Indiana, and the son of a wealthy architect. The Great Depression, however, left Vonnegut's father out of work, and the wealth of the family soon diminished. It was at Shortridge High School in Indianapolis that Vonnegut gained his first writing experience. During his last two years there he wrote for and was one of the editors of the Shortridge Daily Echo, which was the first high school daily newspaper in the country. At this young age Vonnegut learned to write for a wide audience that would give him immediate feedback, rather than just writing for an audience of one in the form of a teacher. After graduating from Shortridge in 1940, Vonnegut headed for Cornell University. His father wanted him to study something that was solid and dependable, like science, so Vonnegut began his college career as a chemistry and biology major, following in the footsteps of his older brother, Bernard, who was to eventually be the discoverer of cloud seeding to induce precipitation. While Vonnegut struggled in his chemistry and biology studies, he excelled as a columnist and managing editor for the Cornell Daily Sun. But by 1943 Vonnegut was on the verge of being asked to leave Cornell due to his lackluster academic performance. He beat Cornell to the punch by enlisting in the army. By this point Vonnegut's parents had given up on life, being unable to adjust to or accept the fact that they were no longer wealthy, world travellers. On May 14, 1944, his mother committed suicide by overdosing on sleeping pills.
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