"They took my mother's stomach out six months ago." -- Dave Eggers
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 his more recent work as a screenwriter. He is also the co-founder of the literacy project, 826 Valencia.
"And that's actually the brunt of what we do is, people going straight from their workplace, straight from home, straight into the classroom and working directly with the students. So then we're able to work with thousands and thousands more students.""And what we were trying to offer every day was one-on-one attention. The goal was to have a one-to-one ratio with every one of these students.""But there was something psychological happening there that was just a little bit different. And the other thing was, there was no stigma. Kids weren't going into the 'Center-for-Kids-That-Need-More-Help' or something like that. It was 826 Valencia.""But you know, there's something about the kids finishing their homework in a given day, working one-on-one, getting all this attention - they go home, they're finished. They don't stall, they don't do their homework in front of the TV.""It's not that our family has no taste, it's just that our family's taste is inconsistent.""People are strange, but more than that, they're good. They're good first, then strange.""So this is the space during tutoring hours. It's very busy. Same principles: one-on-one attention, complete devotion to the students' work and a boundless optimism and sort of a possibility of creativity and ideas.""Some of these kids just don't plain know how good they are: how smart and how much they have to say. You can tell them. You can shine that light on them, one human interaction at a time.""Status in itself is criminal for those with the means to move, and the means to weave communion between people.""The house is a factory.""The key thing is, even if you only have a couple of hours a month, those two hours shoulder-to-shoulder, next to one student, concentrated attention, shining this beam of light on their work, on their thoughts and their self-expression, is going to be absolutely transformative, because so many of the students have not had that ever before.""Through the small tall bathroom window the December yard is gray and scratchy, the tree calligraphic.""You can do and use the skills that you have. The schools need you. The teachers need you. Students and parents need you. They need your actual person: your physical personhood and your open minds and open ears and boundless compassion, sitting next to them, listening and nodding and asking questions for hours at a time.""You know, it's been proven that 35 to 40 hours a year with one-on-one attention, a student can get one grade level higher."
Eggers was born in Boston, Massachusetts, one of four siblings. His father was an attorney and his mother a school teacher. When Eggers was still a child, the family moved to the upscale suburb of Lake Forest, near Chicago. He attended high school there, and was a classmate of the 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, his mother from stomach cancer and his father from brain and lung cancer.] On November 7, 2009, he was presented with the "Courage in Media" Award by the Council on American-Islamic Relations for his book Zeitoun.
In 2005, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters from Brown University. He delivered the baccalaureate address at the school in 2008.
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, apologetic 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 toSurviving Justice. Eggers's 2006 novel 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 "Answer Guy", a column that still runs (without his involvement) in the publication.
Eggers founded McSweeney's, an independent publishing house. McSweeney's 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 , he had been rumored to be a possible candidate to be the new editor of The Paris Review before the prestigious literary magazine opted for 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 country: 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 all given to 826 National.
Eggers provided album art for Austin rock group, Paul Banks & The Carousels' album "Yelling at the Sun."
Eggers designed the artwork for Thrice's album Vheissu.
Eggers can be heard talking with Spike Jonze during "The Horrible Fanfare/Landslide/Exoskeleton", the final track on Beck's 2006 album The Information. The third section of the track features Eggers and Jonze responding to Beck's question, "What would the ultimate record that ever could possibly be made sound like?"
Eggers contributed lyrics to the song, "The Ghost of Rita Gonzolo", on One Ring Zero's album As Smart as We Are (2004).