• Dan Wakefield Discusses Vonnegut’s “Lasting Charm” in Biographile

    April 18, 2014

    The Lasting Charm of Kurt Vonnegut on New Generations of Readers

    Kurt Vonnegut - Lasting Appeal of Vonnegut on New Generations of Readers

    Editor’s NoteAuthor and fellow hoosier Dan Wakefield was a longtime friend of Kurt Vonnegut. He edited and introduced Kurt Vonnegut: Letters, as well as the newly released If This Isn’t Nice, What Is?, a collection of quirky, insightful and refreshing commencement speeches Vonnegut has delivered over the years. Dan joins us to reflect on the amazing staying power of Vonnegut’s prose and the lasting appeal of his grouchy charm to new generations of readers. 

    Kurt Vonnegut’s humor, honesty, and fresh ways of seeing things have always made him a favorite of young people. I remember back in the late sixties, before Slaughterhouse Five made him rich and famous, college students were carrying around dog-eared copies of Cat’s Cradle, a novel in which he playfully invents a fictitious new religion, foresees a way the world could end, and introduces new words that strike a chord of satiric truth (a “Granfalloon” is a proud and meaningless association of people; examples cited are The Communist Party, The Daughters of the American Revolution, and General Electric.)

    Few writers are able — or willing — to take on the most serious issues (e.g.

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  • Jared Diamond Featured on the Daily Beast

    April 18, 2014

    Jared Diamond Talks About His New Book for Young Readers

    William O’Connor


    The author of Guns, Germs, and Steel is out with an adaptation for young people of The Third Chimpanzee. He also has some strong words for his critics.

    It turns out the incident of the chimp who tore off his owner’s friend’s face was more family feud than disgruntled pet.

    Much like the humans he documents who came to rule Earth, Jared Diamond is out with a new book sure to increase his rule in the classroom. Most students known Diamond from the PBS documentary based on his Pulitzer Prize-winning book Guns, Germs, and Steel.Now, Diamond is out with a new edition of his popular book The Third Chimpanzee, this time adapted “for young people” by Seven Stories Press and Rebecca Stefoff. The book, for those who missed the original, discusses how and why humans evolved differently than did chimpanzees, who differ from us in DNA by only 2 percent.

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  • The Nation Publishes an Excerpt from “If This Isn’t Nice, What Is?”

    April 18, 2014

    The Nation
    Published on The Nation

    Why You Can’t Stop Me From Speaking Ill of Thomas Jefferson

    Kurt Vonnegut | March 26, 2014

    Kurt Vonnegut was the celebrated author of novels like Cat’s CradleMother Night and Slaughterhouse-Five. This article was adapted from a speech he made in Indianapolis to the Indiana Civil Liberties Union (now the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana) on September 16, 2000. It appears in the collection If This Isn’t Nice, What Is? Advice to the Young, edited by Dan Wakefield, to be published by Seven Stories Press on April 8.

    There is something you are entitled to know about me—something I’m not proud to confess. This is it: I was born into a society as segregated as Biloxi, Mississippi, except for the drinking fountains and the buses. And I am the product of a lily-white public high school in Indianapolis. Shortridge had a faculty worthy of a university.

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  • Select Vonnegut Titles 50% Off Through May 1st

    April 15, 2014

    If you’ve been waiting for the right moment to fill in your Kurt Vonnegut book collection, now’s the time to strike while the iron’s hot. Between now and May 1, Seven Stories Press is offering the following titles at 50% off of their list price. Just click on each book’s cover to purchase the book (both hardcover and paperbacks are on sale). Happy reading!

    A Man Without a Country

    A Man Without a Country

    Eden Express

    Eden Express: A Memoir of Insanity

    Like Shaking Hands With God

    Like Shaking Hands With God

    God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian

    God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian

    Unstuck in Time

    Unstuck in Time: A Journey Through Kurt Vonnegut’s Life and Novels

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  • Announcing the Kurt Vonnegut/ Graduation Window Display Contest

    April 10, 2014

    Win a signed, original printed piece of art by Kurt Vonnegut!

    In celebration of the April 8th release of If This Isn’t Nice, What Is?, Dan Wakefield’s collection of Kurt Vonnegut’s tongue-in-cheek words of advice for graduates, Seven Stories is holding a window display contest for independent bookstores!

    photoHere is your chance to create a special window featuring If This Isn’t Nice, What Is?, rounded out with other Seven Stories’ Vonnegut titles as well as Vonnegut backlists from his other publishers. We also have some downloadable images for your use (see info below). The best window display will be awarded a piece of original, signed Vonnegut art. Two runners-up will each receive 5 copies of the book each, signed by Dan Wakefield.

    The contest will run May 1st-May 15th. Photos of the displays must be submitted by email to publicity@sevenstories.com by May 20th. Winners will be selected by Seven Stories Press staff and will be announced at BEA in the Seven Stories Press booth, posted on Seven Stories Press social media, and announced by press release.

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  • Pulitzer-winning Author Jared Diamond on Tour

    April 3, 2014

    Join Pulitzer Prize winner Jared Diamond as he discusses his first foray into illustrated young adult nonfiction. The Third Chimpanzee for Young People is both an explosive indictment of human nature and a hopeful plea for a better survival.


    With fascinating facts and his unparalleled readability, Diamond intended his book to improve the world that today’s young people will inherit. Triangle Square’s The Third Chimpanzee for Young People is for them and the future they’ll help build.

    Professor Diamond’s scheduled appearances:
    Boston (4/3 @ 6:30PM) – Porter Square Books at First Parish Church in Harvard Square
    New York (4/4 @ 8PM) – 92nd Street Y, Kaufmann Auditorium
    San Francisco (4/9 @ 7PM) – Los Altos High School, Eagle Theatre
    Seattle (4/10 @ 7:30PM) -University of Washington’s Kane Hall, Room 130
    Los Angeles (4/13) – Los Angeles Times Festival of Books

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  • Publishers Weekly Preview for “If This Isn’t Nice, What Is?

    April 1, 2014

    Vonnegut’s Advice to the Young Coming to Print

    By Clare Swanson | Apr 01, 2014

    In January 2013, Donald Farber, the literary executor of Kurt Vonnegut’s estate, asked Vonnegut’s long time friend, the author Dan Wakefield, to come from Indianapolis to New York City to sift through cardboard boxes full of the late writer’s belongings. Among the stack of papers, which included rejected short stories from the 1950s, were speeches from the many commencement addresses Vonnegut delivered in his lifetime.

    Wakefield compiled and edited the speeches, and wrote an introduction, for an e-book called If This Isn’t Nice, What Is? published by RosettaBooks last April. Now, a year later, Seven Stories will be releasing the book in hardcover on April 8, just ahead of graduation season, updated with illustrations from Vonnegut’s journals.

    “He always responded to those invitations [from universities], and always liked speaking to young people, to college graduates and reminding them what they accomplished,” said Wakefield, who also edited and introduced Kurt Vonnegut Letters, released in 2012 by Delacorte.

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  • New Releases – April

    April 1, 2014


    If This Isn’t Nice, What Is?

    Kurt Vonnegut was among the few grandmasters of twentieth-century American letters, one without whom the very term American literature would not mean what it does today. After the publication of his novel Slaughterhouse-Five brought him worldwide acclaim in 1969, Kurt Vonnegut became one of America’s most popular graduation speakers.

    If This Isn’t Nice, What Is? is a selection of Kurt Vonnegut’s best graduation speeches, edited and introduced by Dan Wakefield. Amid the sarcasm and wit that are typical of his writing, Vonnegut also conveys in these speeches something of the seriousness and the momentousness of life too. He tells stories and jokes, invokes the figures who inspire him the most–Jesus, Eugene Debs, Bertrand Russell, Jazz historian Albert Murray, and Vonnegut’s friend Joseph Heller among many others.



    The Third Chimpanzee for Young People

    Jared Diamond’s first foray into illustrated young adult nonfiction is both an explosive indictment of human nature and a hopeful case for a better survival.

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  • New Releases – March

    March 10, 2014

    Overpowered: The Dangers of Electromagnetic Radiation (EMF)and What You Can Do about It


    Cell phones have become ubiquitous fixtures of 21st century life–suctioned to our ears and stuck in our pockets. Yet, we’ve all heard whispers that these essential little devices give you brain cancer. Could it be true? Overpowered brings readers, in accessible and fascinating prose, through the science, indicating biological effects resulting from low, non-thermal levels of non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation (levels considered safe by regulatory agencies). Radiation that comes not only from cell phones, but many other devices we use in our homes and offices every day.

    It is generally accepted that there should be a limit on exposure of the public to EMF. However, industry pushes the envelope. Dr. Blank advises applying the precautionary principle when it comes to demonstrably hazardous EMF–and teaches us how we can take steps in our daily lives to reduce exposures. In this incredibly timely book, he arms us with the information we need to keep ourselves and our families safe.

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  • Peter Plate Awarded Howard Zinn Bookfair Lifetime Achievement 2014

    February 24, 2014

    This year the Howard Zinn Bookfair awarded its Lifetime Achievement Award to “three great Bay Area literary treasures.” Among them was Seven Stories’ very own Peter Plate.

    Named a Literary Laureate of San Francisco in 2004,  Plate taught himself to write fiction during eight years spent squatting in abandoned buildings. He is the author of many novels, beginning with Black Wheel of Anger (1990) and continuing through his seven neo-noir “psychic histories” of San Francisco, where he still lives and writes today.



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