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Dave Eggers is the author of six previous books, including his most recent, "Zeitoun," a nonfiction account a Syrian-American immigrant and his extraordinary experience during Hurricane Katrina and "What Is the What," a finalist for the 2006 National Book Critics Circle Award. That book, about Valentino Achak Deng, a survivor of the civil war in southern Sudan, gave birth to the Valentino Achak Deng Foundation, run by Mr. Deng and dedicated to building secondary schools in southern Sudan. Eggers is the founder and editor of McSweeney's, an independent publishing house based in San Francisco that produces a quarterly journal, a monthly magazine ("The Believer"), and "Wholphin," a quarterly DVD of short films and documentaries. In 2002, with Ninive Calegari he co-founded 826 Valencia, a nonprofit writing and tutoring center for youth in the Mission District of San Francisco. Local communities have since opened sister 826 centers in Chicago, Los Angeles, Brooklyn, Ann Arbor, Seattle, and Boston. In 2004, Eggers taught at the University of California-Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, and there, with Dr. Lola Vollen, he co-founded Voice of Witness, a series of books using oral history to illuminate human rights crises around the world. A native of Chicago, Eggers graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in journalism. He now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife and two children.
"Imagine Charles Dickens, his sentimentality in check but his journalistic eyes wide open, roaming New Orleans after it was buried by Hurricane Katrina.... Eggers's tone is pitch-perfect--suspense blended with just enough information to stoke reader outrage and what is likely to be a typical response: How could this happen in America?... It's the stuff of great narrative nonfiction.... Fifty years from now, when people want to know what happened to this once-great city during a shameful episode of our history, they will still be talking about a family named Zeitoun." -- Timothy Egan, "The New York Times Book Review" ""Zeitoun" is a riveting, intimate, wide-scanning, disturbing, inspiring nonfiction account of a New Orleans married couple named Abdulrahman and Kathy Zeitoun who were dragged through their own special branch of Kafkaesque (for once the adjective is unavoidable) hell after Hurricane Katrina.... [It's] unmistakably a narrative feat, slowly pulling the reader into the oncoming vortex without literary trickery or theatrical devices, reminiscent of Mailer's "Executioner's Song" but less craftily self-conscious in the exercise of its restraint. Humanistic, that is, in the highest, best, least boring sense of the word." -- James Wolcott, "Vanity Fair" "A fiercely elegant and simply eloquent tale.... So fierce in its fury, so beautiful in its richly nuanced, compassionate telling of an American tragedy, and finally, so sweetly, stubbornly hopeful." -- Susan Larson, "New Orleans Times-Picayune" "In "Zeitoun," [Eggers] tells a story made more upsetting by the fact that although it surpasses our worst nightmares, it is absolutely true. A major achievement and [Eggers'] best book yet." -- Andrew Ervin, "Miami Herald" "Eggers' sympathy for Zeitoun is as plain and real as his style in telling the man's story. He doesn't try to dazzle with heartbreaking pirouettes of staggering prose; he simply lets the surreal and tragic facts