Dave Eggers's Headshot

Dave Eggers

- Panelist Blurb

Dave Eggers is perhaps best known for his memoir, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, a best-seller and 2001 finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction. He is the author five other books, including his most recent nonfiction book Zeitoun, a celebrated screenwriter (Where the Wild Things Are, Away We Go), and the founder and editor of McSweeney's, one of the most influential literary publishers in the United States. An avid philanthropist, Eggers' nonprofit writing and tutoring center for youth, 826 Valencia, now has seven chapters across the United States.

Eggers shot onto the literary scene with his debut book, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, which recounts how, at age 21, he raised his 8-year-old brother "Toph' after their parents died of cancer within weeks of one another. The memoir was the first in a string of Eggers' award-winning books, including You Shall Know Our Velocity, winner of the Independent Book Award, and What is the What, a finalist for the 2006 National Book Critics Circle Award and winner of France's Prix Medici. His most recent book, Zeitoun, is a nonfiction account of a Syrian-American immigrant and his extraordinary experience during Hurricane Katrina. "[Zeitoun] is showing, not telling," Eggers says, "I'm interested in the human impact of the giant foot of misplaced government."

Eggers founded McSweeney's in 1998, a literary journal that initially published only works rejected by other magazines. Since then, McSweeney's has become a celebrated independent publishing house that produces books, a quarterly journal, a monthly magazine (The Believer), and Wolphin, a quarterly DVD of short films and documentaries. McSweeney's has attracted works from some of the finest writers in the country, including Joyce Carol Oates, Michael Chabon, T.C. Boyle, and many others.

In 2002, Eggers co-founded 826 Valencia, a San Francisco-based learning center, and positioned it as a "Pirate Supply Store" to inspire creativity from students, raise funds, and advertise to the local community. The program has since expanded to Chicago, Los Angeles, Brooklyn, Ann Arbor, Seattle, Boston, and Washington D.C. and includes "The Greenwood Space Travel Supply Co.," "The Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co.," and "The Museum of Unnatural History."

A native of Chicago, Eggers graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in journalism. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife and two children.