The Andre Dubus House

The Andre Dubus House

502 Brown Street

Andre Dubus and Kurt Vonnegut

In a video interview with Andre Dubus III, he speaks briefly of living with his father, Andre Dubus, neighbors to Kurt Vonnegut: 

We lived in Iowa City and I taught two freshman rhetoric classes four mornings a week, then came home to eat lunch and write. I wrote in my den at the front of the house, a small room with large windows, and I looked out across the lawn at an intersection of streets shaded by tall trees. I was trying to learn to write stories, and was reading O’Hara and Hemingway as a carpenter might look at an excellent house someone else has built.

Kurt Vonnegut was our neighbor. We had adjacent lawns; he lived behind us, at the top of the hill. One day that summer he was outside on his lawn or on his front porch four times when I was outside, and we waved and called to each other. The first time I was walking home from teaching, wearing slacks and a shirt; the next time I was wearing shorts and a T-shirt I had put on to write; then I wore gym shorts without a shirt and drove to the track; in late afternoon wearing another pair of slacks and another shirt, I walked up to his house to drink. He was sitting on his front porch and, as I approached, he said: ‘Andre, you changed clothes more than a Barbie doll.’

Kurt did not have a telephone. That summer the English Department hosted a conference, and one afternoon a man from the department called me (to pick up) Mrs. Ellison at the train. She did not like to fly. I went up to Kurt’s house, and he came to the back door. I said: ‘They want us to pick up Ellison at the airport. Then his wife at the train.’

He said ‘Swell. I’ll drive.’

Video: “Profile: Andre Dubus.” YouTube, published by OpenRoadMediaVideos, 12 Aug 2011.

Text: Andre Dubus. “A Hemingway Story.” The Kenyon Review 19.2 (1997): 141-47. Web.


Richard Yates, Paul Engle, Kurt Vonnegut, Andre Dubus and Robert Lacy in Iowa City

Robert Lacy remembers his time in Iowa, with Richard Yates, Paul Engle, Kurt Vonnegut, Andre Dubus

We did a great deal of partying in those years. It seems to have been a partying era. And one of the places we partied most often was the little white frame house on Brown Street, not far from the campus, where Andre Dubus lived with his wife, Pat, and their four kids. Andre had resigned his commissions as a captain in the Marines to come to Iowa and study writing. He and Pat were on welfare and received government-surplus food such as cheese and rice and peanut butter. Their house had a big kitchen with a wooden picnic table in it that served as the dining table. We would gather around that table, drinking and talking and snacking on government cheese. Verlin Cassill and Kurt Vonnegut and sometimes even Paul Engle, the Iowa workshop’s founder and director, used to appear at these parties — Engle once arriving with a mixed case of gin and whisky he’d purchased with workshop money from the state-run liquor store on the other side of town. Yates could often be found asleep on the couch in Dubus’s front room. He would have spent the afternoon drinking alone at the Airliner and would be using the Dubuses’ sofa to sleep it off.


Lacy, Robert. “Richard Yates in Iowa.” The Sewanee Review.  vol. 118, no. 3, 2010, 422-428.