Guest Bio:

Mark Vonnegut, MD, the son of Kurt and Jane Cox Vonnegut, was born in Chicago in 1947 and moved to Cape Cod when he was four years old.  He attended Northfield Mount Hermon and received a B.A. in Religion from Swarthmore in 1969.  After graduation, he started a commune in British Columbia; he had his first psychotic break shortly thereafter.  Mark was originally diagnosed as suffering from schizophrenia but was subsequently diagnosed as Manic Depressive; the medically preferred term is now Bipolar.  He spent several years back on the Cape recovering and working odd jobs, and he eventually completed a first memoir.  The Eden Express was published in 1975 and has remained in print ever since.  It was named an ALA Notable Book, and the New York Times declared it “required reading for those who want to understand insanity from the inside.”

In 1974, Mark decided to follow his true calling and go to medical school.  He spent two years completing the prerequisite coursework at The University of Massachusetts, Boston, and ultimately earned his medical degree from Harvard.

Vonnegut finished his pediatrics residency at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in 1982 and has been a primary care pediatrician ever since.  He spent 19 years with Milton Pediatrics in Milton, MA, eventually becoming a partner.  In 2001, Mark opened his own pediatric practice in Quincy, MA.  His staff privileges include Children’s Hospital, MGH, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Brigham & Women’s Hospital, and South Shore Hospital.  Mark has served on the Harvard Medical School Admissions Committee and is currently an instructor in Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School.  He has spoken at numerous conferences and has been published in the New England Journal of Medicine and the Boston Globe, among others, on topics ranging from ADHD to mental illness.  Vonnegut’s second memoir Just Like Someone Without Mental Illness Only More So was published by Delacorte Press on October 5, 2010.  The Heart of Caring: A life in pediatrics will be published by Seven Stories Press in the fall of 2021.

Mark Vonnegut is married to Barbara Sibert Vonnegut.  He has three sons, Zachary, 43, Eli, 40, and Mark Oliver, 18.  He paints, plays the saxophone, and likes to walk his dog.


Dr. Vonnegut has written a memoir, here.


Book: The Eden Express

Dr. Vonnegut has written The Eden Express, here.


Book: The Heart of Caring

Dr. Vonnegut has written The Heart of Caring, here.



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The One with Doctor Mark Vonnegut

Pediatrician, author, & son of best-selling novelist Kurt Vonnegut, talks to Shem.

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