The Winners of the annual Vonnegut Writing Prize

I am proud to honor Arrine McCaw and Andrew Gomes, the winners of the annual Vonnegut Writing Prize of $1,000 at Shortridge High School, donated by the children of Kurt Vonnegut. Ms. McCaw plans to go to The University of Southern Indiana, while Mr. Gomes is on his way to Purdue

I was happy to give each of them a copy of If This Isn’t Nice, What Is?: Vonnegut’s Graduation Speeches and Other Words to Live By.

Kurt Vonnegut was always proud of being a Shortridge grad, and so am I.
When I first met Kurt in 1963, people asked me afterwards “Did you talk about writing?”
“No,” I said “We talked about Shrotridge!”


Bill Hampton Gets Hall of Fame Call

Photographer / Brian Brosmer

Former Crispus Attucks guard will be inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame

Here are two women who grew up in Indianapolis talking about their father: Tanya: “He’s a lot of fun. We danced, and we still dance! When I come back to Indy we put on Marvin Gaye and Al Green and we dance. Here, he was an athlete and he had two girls who are very girly – not the athletic type. He has a good, kind heart. We were spoiled.”

Tina:  “Our dad just adored us. He was very thoughtful, and he expected a lot. We took ballet, but he showed us how to drive a nail and use a saw. He’d be out there in the backyard turning cartwheels with us. He wanted us to be strong. When we didn’t make good grades or do our chores we had privileges taken away. We couldn’t just go anywhere we wanted to go, we had a lot of guidance.”

Their dad, Bill Hampton, will be inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.

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All the Way Home: Author Dan Wakefield on Returning to Indianapolis

Dan Wakefield. Photo by Tony Valainis

Photo by Tony Valainis

I wrote this piece for Indianapolis Monthly in October 2012. Evan West recently profiled me in the January 2017 issue. In light of that, I thought it worth re-sharing my side of the story again.

Here’s an excerpt:

Many people firmly believe that “fiction” really is “fact.” I still have people come up to me and say, “Hey, that must have been wild when you and ‘Gunner’ got kicked out of the Meridian Hills swimming pool because he had a beard!” In fact, I never knew anyone in Indianapolis who had a beard in 1954 (the year the novel was set), and I imagine that anyone who did would have been called a Commie and run out of town. But now I just smile when the scene is mentioned and say, “Yeah, that really was wild!”

My publisher sent me on a book tour that summer of 1970 and wanted to add Indianapolis when a local TV station offered to pay all the expenses. I reluctantly agreed, but the plane was forced down at an emergency airstrip in Pittsburgh due to a bomb threat. The flight was scheduled to go to Indy, Kansas City, and San Francisco, and the caller had told TWA, “That flight will never get to Indianapolis.” As we passengers waited in a concrete blockhouse pondering whether to accept the airline’s offer of continuing on when the bomb was not found or returning to New York, I confessed my fears to a woman standing next to me.

“I’m from Bloomington,” she said, “and I’ve heard about your book; if I were you, I’d go back to New York.”

Read the full piece at Indianapolis Monthly

Dan Wakefield

Dan Wakefield