Biography

Dave Eggers is the author of six previous books, including A Hologram for the King, a finalist for the 2012 National Book Award, and Zeitoun, winner of the American Book Award and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. His novel What Is the What was a finalist for the 2006 National Book Critics Circle Award and won France’s Prix Medici. That book, about Valentino Achak Deng, a survivor of the civil war in Sudan, gave birth to the Valentino Achak Deng Foundation, which operates a secondary school in South Sudan run by Mr. Deng. Eggers is the founder and editor of McSweeney’s, an independent publishing house based in San Francisco that produces a quarterly journal, a monthly magazine, The Believer:, a quarterly DVD of short films and documentaries, Wholphin, and an oral history series, Voice of Witness. In 2002, with Nínive Calegari he cofounded 826 Valencia, a nonprofit writing and tutoring center for youth in the Mission District of San Francisco. Local communities have since opened sister 826 centers in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Ann Arbor, Seattle, Boston and Washington, DC. A native of Chicago, Eggers now lives in Northern California with his wife and two children.

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Books

A Hologram for the King (McSweeney’s, 2012)

The Wild Things (McSweeney’s, 2009)

Zeitoun (McSweeney’s, 2009)

What Is the What (McSweeney’s, 2006)

Co-editor, Surviving Justice (McSweeney’s, 2005)

Teachers Have It Easy: The Big Sacrifices and Small Salaries of America’s Teachers, with Daniel Moulthrop and Nínive Clements Calegari (New Press, June 2005)

Introduction, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (Modern Library, February 2005)

Introduction, Forty Stories by Donald Barthelme (Penguin Classics, January 2005)

Editor, The Best American Nonrequired Reading Series (Houghton Mifflin, 2003-2012).

Introduction, When We Were Very Maakies by Tony Millionaire (Fantagraphics Books, 2004)

Contributor, Yours in Food, John Baldessari, editor (Princeton Architectural Press, October 2004)

Your Disgusting Head, co-researcher (Simon & Schuster, 2004)

The Future Dictionary of America, co-editor (McSweeney’s, 2004)

How We Are Hungry (McSweeney’s, 2004)

Created in Darkness by Troubled Americans: The Best of McSweeney’s Humor Category, co-editor (Knopf, summer 2004)

The Unforbidden Is Compulsory; or, Optimism (McSweeney’s, 2004)

Introduction, A Tramp Abroad by Mark Twain (Modern Library, 2003)

Introduction, The Tenants of Moonbloom by Edward Lewis Wallant (New York Review of Books Classics, 2003)

Giraffes? Giraffes!, co-researcher (Brutus Blue Publishing Force, 2003)

The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2003, editor (Houghton Mifflin, 2003)

Sacrament [a version of You Shall Know Our Velocity! (McSweeney’s, 2003)

McSweeney’s Mammoth Treasury of Thrilling Tales, contributor (McSweeney’s/Vintage, 2003)

Jokes Told in Heaven About Babies, assistant to Lucy Thomas (McSweeney’s, 2003)

The Kindness of Strangers, contributor (Lonely Planet, 2003)

You Shall Know Our Velocity! (McSweeney’s, 2002)

The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2002, editor (Houghton Mifflin, 2002)

The Onion Ad Nauseam, contributor (Boxtree, 2002)

Foreword, Drama in the Desert: The Sights and Sounds of Burning Man by Holly Kreuter (Raised Barn Press, 2002)

Speaking with the Angel, contributor (Riverhead Books, 2001)

Best American Travel Writing 2000, contributor (Houghton Mifflin, 2000)

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (Simon & Schuster, 2000)

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Awards

Commonwealth Club Inforum’s 21st Century Award 2012

PEN Center USA Award of Honor 2012

Gunter Grass Foundation’s Albatross award 2012

Dayton Literary Peace Prize for Nonfiction 2010

2009 Los Angeles Times Book Prize Innovators Award

Winner of the 2008 TED prize

Winner of the 2007 Heinz Award

Named one of TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in 2005

National Magazine Award for Fiction finalist, 2004, “The Only Meaning of the Oil-Wet Water” (Zoetrope: All-Story, Summer 2003)

Independent Book Award, 2003, You Shall Know Our Velocity!

Pulitzer Prize finalist, 2001, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

Addison Metcalfe Award, 2001, by the American Academy of Arts and Letters

New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice, 2000, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Washington Post, and Time Best Book of the Year, 2000, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

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Press and Interviews

January-February 2004
Salon
The Unforbidden Is Compulsory, Or, Optimism
By Dave Eggers
“Introducing Episode 1 of Salon’s new political serial …”

December 2003
The Progress Report, Center for American Progress
Naughty & Nice 2003
By David Sirota, Christy Harvey, and Judd Legum
“Eggers has also been one of the leaders in pushing the Bush Administration to preserve AmeriCorps.”

October 2003
Publishers Weekly
Review: The Best American Nonrequired Reading
By Jeff Zaleski
“In his deliciously kooky foreword, Eggers (You Shall Know Our Velocity) describes this excellent literary compilation as a gathering of ‘good writing from contemporary writers,’ but it’s much more than that.”

August 2003
The New York Times
Op-ed: Muting the Call to Service
By Dave Eggers
“Thousands of outrageously qualified applicants were prepared to quit high-paying jobs, to put off graduate school, to move to, say, rural Louisiana—all in the name of national service, in the name of doing something selfless for a country that needed healing. AmeriCorps approved new volunteer slots and assumed it had the support of Congress and the president. Now, on the eve of a new school year, Congress and the White House have turned their backs on these volunteers.”

March 2003
Toronto Star
To the Golden Age of Pulps
By Robert Wiersema
“Chabon made his case to Dave Eggers, author of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius and founder of the quirky literary quarterly McSweeney’s.
Eggers countered: ‘If I let you guest-edit an issue of McSweeney’s, can we please stop talking about this?’”

March 2003
Sydney Morning Herald
Interview: Speed Merchant
By Jon Casimir
“When I was studying art, my paintings were representational, and usually political. A lot of the paintings I did in high school, for instance, were about class, and I trained myself for 10 years to be able to draw photo-realistically. I wanted to be able to get there, and then distort, if need be.”

March 2003
The Times, (London)
The Misfit
By Oliver Bennett
“Dave Eggers is not your typical cult novelist—he teaches children to write in the back of a San Francisco pirate store, never reads his reviews, and his journal sells alongside taxidermist supplies in the dusty recesses of a Brooklyn oddity shop. Curiouser and curiouser, says …”

February 2003
Denver Post
‘Lost Boy’ Finds Way to Freedom: Sudanese man describes arduous journey of 30,000 youths after civil war
By Annette Espinoza
“Dominic Adim Arou was only a child in Aweil, Sudan, in 1987 when Sudanese civil war troops surrounded his town, set it on fire and killed dozens of people.”

November-December 2002
Book
Weird! McSweeney’s in Brooklyn
By Anna Weinberg
“It took Brooklyn author Clay McLeod Chapman a year to muster up the courage to walk into 429 7th Avenue, a bookstore in the borough’s Park Slope neighborhood that just happens to be owned by offbeat publishing and Internet impresario Dave Eggers.”

October 2002
Contemporarylit.about.com
Review: The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2002
By Mark Flanagan
“The most recent addition to Houghton Mifflin’s Best American Series to hit the stands, The Best American Nonrequired Reading, is new in 2002 and flaunts a departure from its forbearers: the lack of a unifying genre.”

October 2002
Chicago Sun Times
Review: The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2002
By Michael Cart
“Other funny moments lie in Seaton Smith’s ’”Jiving" with Your Teen’: ‘When you master their vocabulary you can finally tell them, in their own language, that the police are at the door.’ All the more reason for the beleaguered parents of the anthology’s target audience to also make this ambitious little volume required reading this fall."

October 2002
Time
Review: You Shall Know Our Velocity
Dave Eggers Gets Real
By Lev Grossman
“But there’s genius here, and if it occasionally staggers, the book deserves our forgiveness and our respect, as does Eggers himself.”

October 2002
Entertainment Weekly
Review: You Shall Know Our Velocity
Eggers’ Velocity simply moves
By Troy Patterson
Y.S.K.O.V. is a good tour of a head damaged by death, the only answer to which is living well: sprinting across rocks, gaping at skies, taking in the world.”

October 2002
San Francisco Chronicle
Review: You Shall Know Our Velocity
Eggers Book a Study in Generosity
By John Freeman
“Dave Eggers has pulled a fast one on big publishing in the past two years. As his groundbreaking memoir, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, galloped up best-seller lists, the talented author fired his agent, beefed up his literary journal, McSweeney’s, and ventured into publishing himself.”

August 2002
The New Yorker
Interview: Around the World in a Week
“A lot of people overintellectualize philanthropy, and we question our purest instinct, which is to just jump out of the car and do everything we can to bring that person — on the street or living in a hut in Senegal — to the same level of comfort we enjoy ourselves.”

August 2002
San Francisco Chronicle
A Heartwarming Work of Literary Altruism
By Jane Ganahl
“Open just a couple of months, 826 Valencia is starting to buzz with young people who have heard about the space through word of mouth. They come for the free tutoring and workshops, but often are lured in by the sweetly twisted Disneyland that is the pirate supply store, with its strange little dioramas and hidden trapdoors.”

June 2001
The Times (London)
Stuff and Nonsense
By Margie Borschke
“A modern-day curiosity shop has acquired cult status among literary New Yorkers.”

May 2001
The Associated Press, The Grand Rapids Press
Searching for the Real Dave Eggers
By Kim Curtis
“The crowd Eggers attracted was close to what William S. Burroughs had drawn in the mid-1980s. Fans outside stood with faces pressed against the glass. They had arrived too late, and the landmark City Lights Bookstore in North Beach, founded in 1953 by poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti and made famous by the beatniks, was full.”

April 2001
San Francisco Chronicle
Interview: Eggers Surprised by Success
By James Sullivan
“Writer Dave Eggers treats his celebrity like a gold lamé suit: It’s amusing, absurd and, in his mind, not quite appropriate.”

March 2000
Christian Science Monitor
Very Clever Headline Goes Here
By Ron Charles
“What saves this book, which I found a heartbreaking work of staggering genius, is not the linguistic pranks (which are often very, very funny), but the tender story of Eggers’s desperate love for his eight-year-old brother after the death of their parents.”

February 2000
San Francisco Chronicle
Review: A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
A Crazy Quilt of Playfulness, Self-Consciousness, Irreverence, Grief
By Andrew Roe
“This is a beautifully ragged, laugh-out-loud funny and utterly unforgettable book, an achievement that is certainly both heartbreaking and staggering.”

February 2000
Nation
Not Dead Yet
By Eric Alterman
“Critics predicted the death of literature for much of the twentieth century, but at the dawn of the Internet age, the mantra is becoming conventional wisdom…”

February 2000
Time South Pacific
Dave Eggers’ Mystery Box

By James Poniewozik
“In the world headquarters of the unorthodox literary journal McSweeney’s — a Brooklyn, N.Y., duplex apartment strewn with printouts, antique books and sporting goods — Dave Eggers is considering the structural integrity of a Dunkin’ Donuts box. There’s been a snag with issue No. 4…”

February 2000
New York Times
Review: A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, Books of the Times; Clever Young Man Raises Sweet Little Brother
By Michiko Kakutani
“A big, daring, manic-depressive stew of book that noisily announces the debut of a talented — yes, staggeringly talented new writer.”

February 2000
The Charlotte Observer (NC)
Review: A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
By Polly Paddock Gossett
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius may not live up to its hyperbolic name — but it is a dazzling, high-wire act of a book from a stunningly talented new writer.”

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Additional Links

826 Valencia, a nonprofit writing lab for Bay Area students, ages 8–18

The Valentino Achak Deng Foundation

The Zeitoun Foundation