Kurt Vonnegut, Jr was born on November 11, 1922, in Indianapolis, Indiana. He attended high school at Shortridge High School in Indianapolis at which he had his first experience in writing. He was a writer and editor for the Shortridge Daily Echo, the first high school daily newspaper in the country.
After graduating in 1940, Vonnegut went Cornell University. Vonnegut began his college career as a chemistry and biology major. His older brother Bernard would later discover cloud seeding. Vonnegut excelled as a columnist and editor for the Cornell Daily Sun when. In 1943 when he was about to be asked to leave Cornell because of poor grades, he enlisting in the army.
On May 14, 1944, Kurt Vonnegut's mother committed suicide. His father became a hermit content to be in his own little world. He died on October 1, 1957.
Vonnegut became a prisoner of war in Germany on December 14, 1944, after being captured in the Battle of the Bulge. He was sent to Dresden, an city that produced nothing war related and was supposedly off-limits to allied bombing. On February 13, 1945 allied forces bombed Dresden and killed around 135,000 civilians. Vonnegut and other POW's were able to survive by waiting in the cellars of their quarters.
On September 1, 1945, Vonnegut married Jane Cox. He spent the next two years at the University of Chicago as a graduate student. He worked for the Chicago City News Bureau while there. His master's thesis was rejected and he moved to New York. There he worked as a publicist for General Electric. On February 11, 1950, Vonnegut's published his first short story, "Report on the Barnhouse Effect." And soon after he was able to quit his job and move his family to Massachusetts.
He published his first novel in 1952 entitled Player Piano. By 1959, his 41-year-old sister died from cancer just hours after her husband had died in a train accident. Vonnegut adopted three of Alice's four children.
Vonnegut published his sixth novel, Slaughterhouse-Five, in 1968 detailing his time in Dresden from the viewpoint of Billy Pilgrim.
He published Breakfast of Champions in 1973 and Slapstick 1976, which was followed by Jailbird in 1979.
He was severely injured in a fire on January 30, 2000 in New York City.