Rara Avis proprietor Bill Denton posted the following on his website:
Kurt Vonnegut to Charles WIlleford
Submitted by wtd on 21 July 2009 - 10:34pm
A letter from Kurt Vonnegut to Charles Willeford, dated 13 August 1985:
Your publisher asked for a blurb, but I don't do those anymore having
given thousands in the past, and thus having laid myself open to
requests for thousands more. However, please count me among your great
admirers. You are an absolute first-rate ethnographer in describing
survival schemes within chaos which only politicians would be cynical
enough to call a society. You have written an important book, and must
know it -- and must know, too, that you are in a ghetto. What are you?
A writer of thrillers, right? Meanwhile, there are all these serious
writers, describing America as it really is. Shall I name some of them?
Would you like me to send you some of their wonderful books?
[The postscript:] Here's a trade secret maybe nobody ever told you:
The more highly educated and powerful your characters, the more popular
your books will be.
Transcribed by Zach Feldberg, who visited the Charles Willeford archives. If you haven't read anything by Willeford, you should. I recommend starting with The Burnt Orange Heresy (1971), the greatest crime novel about art ever written, and the first Hoke Moseley novel, Miami Blues (1984).
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