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Who is Dave Eggers?

Dave Eggers is a literary force, an author whose work transcends genres, blending fiction, memoir, and journalism. His acclaimed debut, "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius," set a precedent for his innovative storytelling. Beyond writing, Eggers champions literacy and education with his nonprofit 826 National. What might his unique approach to storytelling reveal about our own lives? Explore Eggers' world to find out.
Kathy Hawkins
Kathy Hawkins

Dave Eggers is a writer best known for his memoir released in 2000, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, which told the story of raising his younger brother after both of his parents died. He is also the editor of a highly-regarded and popular quarterly literary magazine, called McSweeney's. Dave Eggers was born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1970, and was raised in nearby Lake Forest, an expensive suburb. He is married to fellow writer Vendela Vida. They have a daughter, October Adelaide Eggers Vida, who was born in October 2005.

Before writing his bestselling book, Dave Eggers worked in San Francisco as a writer for the online journal,, and served as the editor of a satirical magazine called Might. He also drew a satirical cartoon for the alternative weekly publication, SF Weekly. After the publication of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, however, Dave Eggers became a household name. The book was praised for its voice and its innovations with form, and was a finalist for that year's Pulitzer Prize in general nonfiction.

Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

Since that time, Dave Eggers has written several other works. His novel, You Shall Know Our Velocity, published in 2002, told the story of two friends traveling around the world, attempting to give out money to the locals. His next full-length book, in 2004, was a collection of short stories called How We Are Hungry. A book published by Dave Eggers in 2006 is entitled, What Is the What: The Autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng. The book is classified as a novel, but it is Dave Eggers' interpretation of the story of an actual Sudanese "lost boy," Valentino Achak Deng. The book is based on many months of interviews and research; though Dave Eggers establishes a fictional voice for the book, all the details of the story are true. The book has garnered critical acclaim for its powerful story.

In 2002, Dave Eggers established a nonprofit literary center in San Francisco called 826 Valencia, where he and other volunteer writers would hold writing courses and run drop-in tutoring sessions for high school students. He has also initiated the opening of similar writing centers in Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, Seattle, and Ann Arbor, Michigan. To support these programs, he has held fund-raising concerts featuring indie rock artists including Sufjan Stevens.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is Dave Eggers and why is he well-known?

Dave Eggers is an American writer, editor, and publisher. He gained fame with his memoir "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius" (2000), which chronicles his stewardship of his younger brother after the death of their parents. Eggers is also known for his literary work in fiction and non-fiction, as well as his philanthropic efforts, particularly the founding of 826 National, a network of tutoring centers that enhance students' writing skills.

What are some of Dave Eggers' most notable works?

Aside from his breakout memoir, Dave Eggers has authored several acclaimed books. Notable among these are the novels "What Is the What" (2006), based on the life of Sudanese refugee Valentino Achak Deng, and "The Circle" (2013), a dystopian novel about the perils of social media and surveillance. His works are celebrated for their inventive style and social commentary.

Has Dave Eggers received any awards for his writing?

Yes, Dave Eggers has received numerous accolades for his contributions to literature. His memoir "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius" was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction in 2001. Additionally, Eggers has been awarded the TED Prize in 2008 and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize in 2009 for his work with Valentino Achak Deng, among other honors.

What is 826 National, and how is Dave Eggers associated with it?

826 National is a nonprofit organization founded by Dave Eggers and educator Nínive Calegari in 2002. It focuses on encouraging creative and expository writing skills among students aged 6-18. The organization provides after-school tutoring, workshops, and in-school programs, and it has several chapters across the United States. Eggers' involvement with 826 National reflects his commitment to education and literacy.

How has Dave Eggers contributed to the field of publishing?

Dave Eggers is the founder of McSweeney's, an independent publishing company known for its literary journals and books. Established in 1998, McSweeney's has become a platform for both emerging and established writers, recognized for its innovative design and high-quality content. Eggers' influence in the publishing world extends to his support for literary culture and independent voices in the industry.

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