By September 12, 2007 0 Comments Read More →

Eggers Wins the Heinz

Dave Eggers (What Is the What) seems to be one of those love-him-or-hate-him writers. Because his life story was so integral to the launching of his career, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to separate his personality from his product. He’s been called “Saint Dave”–and not by the lovers. But, setting his work aside for the moment, he sure seems like a decent human being to me. And I’d be surprised if any of his detractors have done as much for as many communities as he has.

Anyway, according to the Washington Post (“Author Dave Eggers Cops $250,000 Heinz Award“), he’s been given a bunch of money because he’s so good at giving away money (also, “philanthropist” now supersedes “literary entrepreneur” in his list of titles):

Author, philanthropist and literary entrepreneur Dave Eggers has become the youngest person ever to win one of the annual $250,000 awards from the Heinz Family Foundation.

Eggers, 37, used earnings from his autobiographical 2000 bestseller “A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius” to launch 826 Valencia, a nonprofit writing and tutoring center in San Francisco for children ages 6 to 18. Since then, the center has replicated itself in five other cities, with another branch scheduled to open this fall in Boston.

“I think of it as a validation of the work that 826 does,” a grateful Eggers said in an interview. He said the $250,000 would be split evenly among the seven centers.

“Saint Dave”? If they don’t like his writing, fair enough. But it sounds like envy to me. Hell, I envy him. It’s not enough that he’s a talented, enormously popular writer–he has to be a nice guy, too?

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About the Author:

Keir Graff is Executive Editor of Booklist Publications and the author of five books. His most recent is the middle-grade novel, The Other Felix (2011). Follow him on Twitter at @Booklist_Keir.

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