Eggers at the 2007 Brooklyn Book Festival
|Born||(1970-03-12) March 12, 1970 (age 45)|
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
|Occupation||Writer, editor, publisher, philanthropist|
|Literary movement||Postmodern literature, post-postmodern, new sincerity|
|Notable works||A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (2000), What Is the What: The Autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng (2006), Zeitoun (2009), A Hologram for the King (2012), The Circle (2013)|
|Notable awards||Heinz Award, Independent Publisher Book Award, Prix Médicis, Los Angeles Times Book Prize|
Dave Eggers (born March 12, 1970) is an American writer, editor, and publisher. He is known for the best-selling memoir A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius and for his subsequent work as a novelist and screenwriter. He is also the founder of McSweeney's, the co-founder of the literacy project 826 Valencia, and the founder of ScholarMatch, a program that matches donors with students needing funds for college tuition. His writing has appeared in several magazines. His works have received a significant amount of critical acclaim.
Eggers was born in Boston, Massachusetts, one of four siblings. His father was John K. Eggers (1936–1991), an attorney. His mother, Heidi McSweeney Eggers (1940–1992), was a school teacher. When Eggers was still a child, the family moved to the upscale suburb of Lake Forest, near Chicago, where he attended high school and was a classmate of actor Vince Vaughn. Eggers attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, intending to get a degree in journalism, but his studies were interrupted by the deaths of both of his parents in 1991–1992—his father in 1991 from brain and lung cancer, and his mother in January 1992 from stomach cancer. Both were in their 50s.
These events were chronicled in his first book, the fictionalized A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. At the time, Eggers was 21, and his younger brother, Christopher ("Toph"), was 8 years old. The two eldest siblings, Bill and Beth, were unable to commit to care for Toph; his older brother had a full-time job and his sister was enrolled in law school. As a result, Dave Eggers took the responsibility. He left the University of Illinois and moved to Berkeley, California, with his girlfriend Kirsten and his brother. They initially moved in with Eggers's sister, Beth, and her roommate, but eventually found a place in another part of town, which they paid for with money left to them by their parents. Toph attended a small private school, and Eggers did temp work and freelance graphic design for a local newspaper. Eventually, with his friend David Moodie, he took over a local free newspaper called Cups. This gradually evolved into the satirical magazine Might.
Eggers lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and is married to Vendela Vida, also a writer. The couple has two children.
Eggers's elder brother, Bill, is a researcher who has worked for several conservative think tanks, doing research promoting privatization. Eggers's sister, Beth, committed suicide in November 2001. Eggers briefly spoke about his sister's death during a 2002 fan interview for McSweeney's.
He was one of three 2008 TED Prize recipients. His TED Prize wish was for helping community members to personally engage with local public schools. The same year, he was named one of "50 Visionaries Who Are Changing the World" by Utne Reader.
In 2005, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters from Brown University. He delivered the baccalaureate address at the school in 2008.
|Wikinews has related news: 2007 Brooklyn Book Festival showcases borough's continued literary tradition|
Eggers began writing as a Salon.com editor and founded Might magazine, while also writing a comic strip called Smarter Feller (originally Swell) for SF Weekly. His first book was a memoir (with fictional elements), A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (2000), which focused on the author's struggle to raise his younger brother in San Francisco following the deaths of both of their parents. The book quickly became a bestseller and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction. The memoir was praised for its originality, idiosyncratic self-referencing, and for several innovative stylistic elements. Early printings of the 2001 trade-paperback edition were published with a lengthy postscript entitled, Mistakes We Knew We Were Making.
In 2002, Eggers published his first novel, You Shall Know Our Velocity, a story about a frustrating attempt to give away money to deserving people while haphazardly traveling the globe. An expanded and revised version was released as Sacrament in 2003. A version without the new material in Sacrament was created and retitled You Shall Know Our Velocity! for a Vintage imprint distribution. He has since published a collection of short stories, How We Are Hungry, and three politically themed serials for Salon.com.
In November 2005, Eggers published Surviving Justice: America's Wrongfully Convicted and Exonerated, a book of interviews with former prisoners sentenced to death and later exonerated. The book was compiled with Lola Vollen, "a physician specializing in the aftermath of large-scale human rights abuses" and "a visiting scholar at the University of California, Berkeley's Institute of International Studies and a practicing clinician". Lawyer novelist Scott Turow wrote the introduction to Surviving Justice. Eggers's 2006 novel What Is the What: The Autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng (McSweeney's) was a finalist for the 2006 National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction. Eggers also edits the Best American Nonrequired Reading series, an annual anthology of short stories, essays, journalism, satire, and alternative comics.
Eggers was one of the original contributors to ESPN The Magazine and helped create its section "The Jump". He also acted as the first, anonymous "Answer Guy", a column that continued to run after he stopped working for the publication.
On November 7, 2009, he was presented with the "Courage in Media" Award by the Council on American-Islamic Relations for his book Zeitoun. The story is of a Syrian immigrant, Abdulrahman Zeitoun, in New Orleans who was helping neighbors after Hurricane Katrina when he was arrested, imprisoned and suffered abuse. Zeitoun has been optioned by Jonathan Demme, who is working on a screenplay for an animated film-rendition of the work. To Demme, it "felt like the first in-depth immersion I'd ever had through literature or film into the Muslim-American family. … The moral was that they are like people of any other faith, and I hope our film, if we can get it made, will also be like that." Demme, quoted in early 2011, expressed confidence that when the script is finished, he will be able to find financing, perhaps even from a major studio. "It's a wonderful, gripping story," he said, "and we can have a very, very competitive commercial picture that won't cost an enormous amount," since animation provides an alternative to expensive re-creations of the hurricane.
In the early 2010s after going six years without publishing substantive literary fiction following What is the What, Eggers began a three year streak of back-to-back novels, each broadly concerned with pressing social and political issues facing the United States and the wider world in the twenty-first century. Eggers published his novel of the Great Recession and late 2000s financial crisis, A Hologram for the King, in July 2012. In October of that year, the novel was announced as a finalist for the National Book Award. Eggers followed this the following October with 2013's The Circle, which depicts the life of a young worker at a fictional San Francisco based technology company in the near future as she faces doubts about her vocation due to the company's seemingly well-intentioned innovations revealing a more sinister underlying agenda. Completing the productive spell, a new novel concerning anxiety with America's place in the world, Your Fathers, Where Are They? And the Prophets, Do They Live Forever?, was published in June 2014.
Eggers founded McSweeney's, an independent publishing house, named for his mother's maiden name. The publishing house produces a quarterly literary journal, Timothy McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, first published in 1998; a monthly journal, The Believer, which debuted in 2003 and is edited by Eggers's wife, Vendela Vida; and, beginning in 2005, a quarterly DVD magazine, Wholphin. Other works include The Future Dictionary of America, Created in Darkness by Troubled Americans, and "Dr. and Mr. Haggis-On-Whey", all children's books of literary nonsense, which Eggers writes with his younger brother and uses as a pseudonym.
Ahead of the 2006 FIFA World Cup, Eggers wrote an essay about the U.S. national team and soccer in the United States for The Thinking Fan's Guide to the World Cup, which contained essays about each competing team in the tournament and was published with aid from the journal Granta. According to The San Francisco Chronicle, Eggers was rumored to be a possible candidate to be the new editor of The Paris Review before the Review selected Lorin Stein.
In 2002, Eggers and educator Nínive Clements Calegari co-founded 826 Valencia, a nonprofit writing and tutoring center for kids ages 6–18 in San Francisco. It has since grown into seven chapters across the United States: Los Angeles, New York City, Seattle, Chicago, Ann Arbor, Michigan, Washington, D.C., and Boston, all under the auspices of the nonprofit organization 826 National. In 2006, he appeared at a series of fund-raising events, dubbed the Revenge of the Book–Eaters tour, to support these programs. The Chicago show, at the Park West theatre, featured Death Cab for Cutie front man Ben Gibbard. Other performers on the tour included Sufjan Stevens, Jon Stewart, Davy Rothbart, and David Byrne. In September 2007, the Heinz Family Foundation awarded Eggers a $250,000 Heinz Award (given to recognize "extraordinary achievements by individuals") in the Arts and Humanities. In accordance with Eggers's wishes, the award money was given to 826 National and The Teacher Salary Project. In April 2010, under the umbrella of 826 National, Eggers launched ScholarMatch, a nonprofit organization that connects donors with students to make college more affordable.