Dave Eggers

in Conversation with Tom Barbash

April 19th, 2020

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Dave Eggers is known for writing wonderful, gripping stories that tug at the heart. His award-winning body of work consists of several non-fiction, fiction, humor, screenplays, a series on salon.com, several essays and articles. As editor and contributor, he has worked on several works of post-modern literature. Almost all of his works have received significant amount of critical acclaim, not to mention commercial success. This has helped cement his place in the world of post-modern literature. He has thrown the doors open to bridging the divide between ethnic and religious groups through his fresh and honest works of fiction and non-fiction.
He has found more success through his more recent work as a novelist, screenwriter, satirist, album art designer, and a proponent of grassroots journalism and alternative comics. As a philanthropist, he is known for helping students get through college vide monetary and after-school help from his nonprofit foundation and its seven chapters. A visionary and a global thought leader, he is often invited to knowledge forums to deliver keynote addresses and engage eager audiences to fresh forward thinking.

Books have a unique way of stopping time in a particular moment and saying: Let’s not forget this.”

– Dave Eggers

Dave is the author of many books, including The CircleThe Monk of Mokha, What is the What, A Hologram for the King, and The Lifters.
He is founder of McSweeney’s, an independent publishing company based in San Francisco that produces books, a humor website, and a journal of new writing, McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern. McSweeney’s also publishes Voice of Witness, a nonprofit book series that uses oral history to illuminate human rights crises around the world.
Eggers is the co-founder of 826 National, a network of youth writing and tutoring centers around the United States. Numerous other organizations worldwide operate with inspiration from the 826 National model. Realizing the need for greater college access for low-income students, Eggers founded ScholarMatch, a nonprofit organization designed to connect students with resources, schools and donors to make college possible.
Eggers’s novel What Is the What, about the life of Valentino Achak Deng, a refugee from the civil war in South Sudan, gave birth to the Valentino Achak Deng Foundation, run by Mr. Deng. VADF operates secondary schools in South Sudan.
Eggers’s books for young readers include What Can a Citizen Do?, Her Right FootThis Bridge Will Not Be Gray, and The Wild Things, among others.
Trained as a painter, Eggers’s artworks have been exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, the Nevada Museum of Art, the Biennial of the Americas, and numerous other galleries and art spaces. Eggers is winner of the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award for Education, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, the TED Prize, and has been a finalist for the National Book Award, the Pulitzer Prize, and the National Book Critics Circle Award.
In 2018, Eggers co-founded The International Congress of Youth Voices, an annual gathering of 100 extraordinary young writers and activists; their landmark meeting in San Francisco resulted in a youth-written manifesto published by The Guardian.
He lives with his family in Northern California. They have no significant pets.

Visit the Book Passage website to have any of Dave’s books delivered right to your door.

You’re sure to enjoy these Book Passage favorites:

The Captain and the Glory: An Entertainment

Eggars, Captain

Tomorrow Most Likely

Eggars, Tomorrow

The Monk of Mokha

monk

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

Eggars, Genius

Get ready to join Dave in conversation, Sunday April 19th.

In the meantime, we invite you to take a moment now to help shape this upcoming conversation:

Check out the list of questions submitted by other registered attendees, and then vote to support any of the ones that match your own interests.
Feel free to add your own question. Then spread the word to make sure others have the chance to help move your question to the top of the shared list.

  • 10

    votes

    Before starting to write do you think about the whole story and details of your or characters? And Writer needs to know where his story will end?

  • 10

    votes

    How do you think your life would have been different if you hadn’t made any efforts to effect social change where you thought it was needed?

  • 8

    votes

    Can you talk about the role of feedback from others on your work, before the final draft?

  • 8

    votes

    What advice do you have for a first time writer of a mission-driven memoir in this competitive time for publishing? Traditional, hybrid, or university publishing?

  • 8

    votes

    What are you reading now? Has the pandemic changed your reading or writing habits?

  • 7

    votes

    You experienced significant losses at a young age. How have these losses and the grief process that followed informed your writing? Your career choices? Your role as a father?

  • 6

    votes

    You’ve done so much to help others. What would you encourage your readers to do to help people during this time of virus?

  • 6

    votes

    What do you see as the most significant challenges of writing literary prose in the 21st century compared to the 20th century?

  • 5

    votes

    Your books illustrate the duality of human existence, the light and dark of the human spirit. Which do you think will prevail as we emerge from the current pandemic? Will our society become more cohesive or be driven further apart?

  • 5

    votes

    What are the 2-3 things you don’t want to forget about being a parent to Topher? How would you describe your current relationship with your siblings, especially Topher?

  • 5

    votes

    The Circle is far and away my favorite book. Did you have to do a lot of research for it, or is that sort of life familiar to people who live in the Bay Area?

  • 4

    votes

    I loved You Shall Know My Velocity and I love West Africa, having spent a few months there in 1993. So long ago! What are your thoughts about the state of travel these days, pre- and post-pandemic?

  • 4

    votes

    What can you tell parents at home to help them overcome any boredom, and develop creative, fun, innovative lesson plans for their kids, who need help to focus when they write in order to function successfully?

  • 3

    votes

    can you update us on the Monk of Mokha? Is he still involved with the coffee industry?

  • 3

    votes

    I’m Deaf and just want to know if this will be on YouTube like yesterday’s event and if so please turn on captions. Excited and access is critical.

  • 3

    votes

    Your work in establishing 826 Valencia is inspiring! What’s your greatest happiness in relation to that life-changing program?

  • 2

    votes

    Zeitoun finds meaning and purpose in the aftermath of Katrina by helping his neighbors. How might he have responded to the unique stresses of the corona pandemic?

  • 1

    votes

    How can I help to bring an 826 branch to Marin County?

  • 1

    votes

    I cannot find where I do the donation for $300 for a drawing. Please advise.

  • 1

    votes

    Two writers. One household. Anything you want to share?

  • 1

    votes

    fantastic thanks

  • 0

    votes

    I am disappointed in not being able to see Dave Egger’s face as he speaks. Especially during this time of separation it is disheartening to not being able to connect in this way. He has so much to offer his readers but I feel let down to the discussion entering on Trump.