Read the rejection letter Kurt Vonnegut received for his account of the Dresden bombing

Illustration for article titled Read the rejection letter Kurt Vonnegut received for his account of the Dresden bombing

Here's something to galvanize you as NaNoWriMo 2011 rolls to a close. On August 29, 1949, The Atlantic Monthly sent this rejection letter to a 27-year-old Kurt Vonnegut, who had submitted his account of surviving the Allied bombing of Dresden (plus two other articles) to the magazine.

And as you may know, Vonnegut's time as a POW in Dresden would later inform his time-jumping novel Slaughterhouse-Five, which would hit the scene two decades later. Here's the transcript of the rejection letter:


Dear Mr. Vonnegut:

We have been carrying out our usual summer house-cleaning of the manuscripts on our anxious bench and in the file, and among them I find the three papers which you have shown me as samples of your work. I am sincerely sorry that no one of them seems to us well adapted to for our purpose. Both the account of the bombing of Dresden and your article, "What's a Fair Price for Golden Eggs?" have drawn commendation although neither one is quite compelling enough for final acceptance.

Our staff continues fully manned so I cannot hold out the hope of an editorial assignment, but I shall be glad to know that you have found a promising opening elsewhere.

Faithfully yours,

(Signed, 'Edward Weeks')

Via Letters of Note. Image: Thomas Vance.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter


Jean Rhys Lives

That is some pretty embarrassing and appalling grammar in that rejection letter. I think that's the best way to get rejected, though. I think I would prefer someone who can be bothered to proofread to accept my submissions rather than someone who would write...whatever that was.