Kurt Vonnegut - great writer associated with the Iowa Writer’s Workshop or the greatest writer associated with the Iowa Writer’s Workshop?
Certainly right up there among the other former faculty members – also in the conversation would be John Cheever and Philip Roth. However, everyone knows, or at least it used to be that everyone knows (knew?), exactly where the Vonnegut house was on the north side of Iowa City. I have no idea where Roth or Cheever used to live.
Expanding the conversation to people who attended the Writer’s Workshop, you’ve got Raymond Carver, John Irving (who does a hell of a book read, if you ever get the chance), and Flannery O’Connor who can be included in the same conversation as Vonnegut. Much as I might like T. Coraghessan Boyle or W.P. Kinsella, I can’t toss them in there. Same with Jane Smiley.
So that leaves Cheever, Roth, Carver, Irving, and O’Connor as people associated with the Writer’s Workshop in the same league as Vonnegut. I think you have to hand Kurt the title of greatest writer associated with the Iowa Writer’s Workshop. In fact, if it weren’t for a guy by the name of Tennessee Williams, you’d have to give him the title of greatest writer associated with the University of Iowa. But I’m gonna give that one to Mr. Williams.