This note accompanies the follow episode(s):
The Writer’s Almanac for March 12, 2017: First House

Mar. 12, 2017: birthday: Dave Eggers

Today is the birthday of Dave Eggers (books by this author), born in Boston, Massachusetts (1970). He grew up in Lake Forest, Illinois, and wanted to be a cartoonist. When he was in college at the University of Illinois, both his parents died of cancer within six months, and he was completely on his own at the age of 21. He later said: “On the one hand you are so completely bewildered that something so surreal and incomprehensible could happen. At the same time, suddenly the limitations or hesitations that you might have imposed on yourself fall away. There’s a weird, optimistic recklessness that could easily be construed as nihilism but is really the opposite. You see that there is a beginning and an end and that you have only a certain amount of time to act. And you want to get started.” He was also made the guardian of his eight-year-old brother, Christopher, so he had to drop out of college to support the family, and wrote about it in his best-selling memoir, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (2000).

Since then, Eggers has launched his own publishing company, founded a tutoring center and writing school, and written and edited dozens of books and screenplays. Among these are What Is the What (2006), the story of a Sudanese orphan who immigrates to the United States, and screenplays for Away We Go and Where the Wild Things Are (both released in 2009). His latest novel is Heroes of the Frontier (2016).