When given the opportunity to interview someone as multifaceted as Dave Eggers, it’s hard to know where to begin. Do you start with his nonprofit work in children’s education and publishing? Do you ask him about his breakout memoir A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, published in 2000, in which he recounts bringing up his younger brother after the untimely death of both of their parents? Do you ask about his life in San Francisco, where he lives with his wife and their two children? Do you ask about his career as a visual artist?
Or do you ask him about his many works of fiction? His latest, titled The Captain and the Glory, is a thinly-disguised satire featuring a Trumpian captain at the helm of a sea-faring ship, who steers it towards disaster with the aid of a crooked crew called the Upskirt Boys.
But maybe it’s best to ask Eggers about the synergies he’s been able to create between his life as writer and publisher and his work as a nonprofit entrepreneur. This kind of boundary hopping, after all, is something that Eggers seems particularly adept at.
Take, for example, his 2006 book What Is the What: the Autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng. Deng was a child refugee from Sudan who came to the U.S. as part of the Lost Boys of Sudan Program. Eggers, in addition to writing Deng’s story, helped him establish the VAD Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to the economic and educational betterment of South Sudan.
Eggers, who will be coming to Indianapolis Feb. 29 to chat with Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library founder and CEO Julia Whitehead about the youth writing programs he’s shepherded into existence around the world. The conversation is presented by Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library and the IUPUI Arts & Humanities Institute.