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Dave Eggers to Speak at Duke Nov. 10

Author of "Zeitoun" and "What Is the What" Delivers the Libraries' Weaver Lecture
Michelle Quinn
Award-winning author Dave Eggers will discuss his book Zeitoun at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 10, in Duke University’s Page Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public. Seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Eggers is also an editor, publisher, screenwriter and philanthropist. In recent years, he has earned a reputation for channeling his prodigious literary talents into humanitarian causes such as rebuilding New Orleans.

Zeitoun tells the true story of Abdulrahman Zeitoun, a Syrian immigrant living in New Orleans who stayed behind during Hurricane Katrina, and the harrowing ordeal he and his family endured in its wake. All profits from the sale of Zeitoun go towards supporting the Zeitoun Foundation, which was formed in 2009 by Eggers and the Zeitoun family. The foundation awards grants to help rebuild the city and to promote human rights.

His novel What Is the What, about a group of Sudanese refugees who struggled to survive Sudan’s civil war, gave birth to the Valentino Achak Deng Foundation. The foundation is run by Deng, who is both the main character in the novel and a real person, and it is dedicated to building secondary schools in southern Sudan.

The novel was a finalist for the 2006 National Book Critics Circle Award and winner of France’s Prix Medici. The book was also chosen as a summer reading selection for Duke’s Class of 2012. Eggers’ first book, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

In addition to authoring six books, Eggers has edited numerous volumes, and written the screenplays for two feature films, Away We Go and Where the Wild Things Are.

Eggers is also the founder and editor of McSweeney’s, an independent publishing house based in San Francisco and co-founder of 826 Valencia, a nonprofit writing and tutoring center for young people in San Francisco. There are now 826 centers in major cities across the country.

Eggers’s talk will be presented as the Weaver Memorial Lecture. The lecture is hosted every other year by the Duke University Libraries in memory of William B. Weaver, T’72, a former member of the Library Advisory Board. The event is co-sponsored by the Duke Human Rights Center.

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Posted 22 October 2010

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Last modified October 27, 2010 3:37:14 PM EDT