Memphis Reads Dave Eggers


Memphis Reads, the city-wide book club, has chosen What Is The What by Dave Eggers as its next community read. 

Memphis Reads selects one book annually to be read by the Memphis community at large. 
The month-long event consists of discussions and related arts events, and culminates in an event with the author on November 5th. All events are free and open to the public.

What Is The What is an epic novel based on the life of Valentino Achak Deng who, along with thousands of other children, the Lost Boys, was forced to leave his village in Sudan at the age of seven and trek hundreds of miles by foot, pursued by militias, government bombers, and wild animals, while crossing the deserts of three countries to find freedom. When he finally is resettled in the United States, he finds a life full of promise, but also heartache and myriad new challenges.

Eggers, born in Boston, is also the author of the memoir A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (2000), the novel You Shall Know Our Velocity (2002), and the story collection How We Are Hungry (2004). He founded McSweeney's, an independent book publishing house in San Francisco which puts out a quarterly literary journal, the monthly magazine The Believer, the website, and a DVD quarterly of short films, Wholphin. With Ninive Calegari, he has written Teachers Have It Easy: The Big Sacrifices and Small Salaries of America's Teachers.

Memphis Reads began as a program from Christian Brothers University as part of their "First Year Experience" wherein all incoming freshman participate in the reading of a selected book and hold discussions and other events throughout the school year. In 2014, the University teamed up with local partners, including Memphis Library, Rhodes College, and Facing History and Ourselves, to expand the program city-wide.

Last year, Memphis Reads featured The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears by Dinaw Mengestu.

For more information on the program and all events, please visit

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