Go to New York State Writers Institute
Dave Eggers

September 29, 2004
Intro by MacArthur Fellow Lydia Davis
8:00 p.m. Reading / Q&A / Signing
Recital Hall, PAC
UAlbany, Uptown Campus
How We Are Hungry

At the age of 22, during his senior year of college, Dave Eggers became the guardian of his 8-year-old brother, Christopher, after they were orphaned by the deaths of both of their parents from cancer within a five month period. Eggers recounts his experiences as a "single mother" in the postmodern literary memoir, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (2000). The work quickly became a bestseller and Eggers became a celebrity of sorts, getting such an abundance of media coverage that the media soon began covering the massive coverage. "AHWOSG," as the book is known to its devotees, is told by means of a playful, experimentally structured narrative, despite the fact that it deals with deeply serious issues, including death, grief and parenthood (as well as several non-serious issues, including the author's obsessive quest to make an appearance on the MTV reality show, "The Real World").

The book, which became a New York Times bestseller, has garnered something of a cult following and has been hailed in the press as one of the finest examples of literature to be produced by a member of "Generation X." Eggers became a celebrity of sorts, getting such an abundance of media coverage that the media soon began covering the massive coverage.

"A virtuosic piece of writing, a big, daring, manic-depressive stew of a book that noisily announces the debut of a talented--yes, staggeringly talented--new writer." - Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

"Eggers invokes the terrible beauty of youth like a young Bob Dylan, frothing with furious anger" - Washington Post

"This is laugh-out-loud funny and utterly unforgettable." - San Francisco Chronicle

Eggers first novel is You Shall Know Our Velocity (2002, revised as Sacrament 2003, the story of two young Americans who travel around the world (Senegal, Morocco, Estonia and Latvia) handing out money to very poor people.

"a grand, hectic, whimsical, great airborne road-trip of a book. [It] has the propulsive exuberance of Kerouac's 'On the Road,' and is probably a rather better novel, too." - London Daily Telegraph

Eggers has been associated with a number of offbeat periodicals. At the age of 24, he founded Might magazine, a satirical San Francisco-based publication. After serving as a guest editor at Esquire, Eggers founded McSweeney's, a quarterly magazine.

"Monty Python style publication" and "a postmodern examination of everything." - NPR-affiliate WBUR Boston

Eggers is also the editor of The Best American NonRequired Reading (2002), an anthology of offbeat magazine and webzine pieces, including fiction, journalism, essays and satire, culled from the pages of the New Yorker, Jane, ZYZZYVA, Vibe, The Onion, Spin, Epoch, Time, Esquire, and others.

Eggers used a good portion of his earnings from A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius to found 826 Valencia, a charitable organization based in Marin County, California, that promotes writing skills among kids ages 8 to 18.

If you were at the PAC at UAlbany for Dave Eggers' reading on Wednesday, September 29th, you heard him talk about Word Street, a drop-in tutoring and literary arts center at 163 North Street, Pittsfield, MA--modeled after 826 Valencia, his own organization in San Francisco. Dave spent the afternoon before his reading at Word Street, talking to kids and teachers, and has become an enthusiastic supporter. Word Street needs volunteers. If you are interested in helping, or even just learning more about the organization, please e-mail Founder and Director Frank Tempone at [email protected]. You can also talk to Frank on the Word Street chat at www.wordstreet.org/chat.html Thurs, October 7, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Any amount of time you can give to Word Street will be appreciated.