Monday, 1 September 2014

Dave Eggers: Closing Night Address

Your Authors, Where Are They?

Inspired by Dave Eggers latest novel the all-dialogue Your Fathers Where Are They And The Prophets Do They Live forever? Christy Collins converses with a sister festival goer about all things Eggers.

- He’s handsome, isn’t he?
- Ah. Sure.
- Mr Eggers. The writer. I came because I saw his photo in a magazine and I thought: well he looks charming.
- Right, yes, he was charming, wasn’t he? And funny.
- Funny, yes, but I didn’t think he needed to use all those curse words.
- Hmm, well perhaps they weren’t so much his words, but his characters’. It was only in the reading really, the swearing.
- Well that’s true, I suppose. Yes, you’re right, and he did apologise. And it was rather sweet what he said about the otters and all. I think I’ll buy his book. The new one that’s all in dialogue seems like it would be interesting, about the astronaut and the police. I like a book that makes you think about the world.
- It’s good. I read it this week. It’s a fast read.
- Oh, I’m in no rush, love. Not anymore. But still, he was very entertaining and I’m not sure I’ll be around when the next one comes out.
- They said he’s written three books in the last three years and didn’t he say he feels a lot more confident now he’s in his forties? I’m sure it won’t be so long until the next one.
- There’s no time like the present though, is there? Next year I’ll probably be on to some other writer and I won’t be thinking about Mr Eggers. If I get this one now I can get him to sign it.
- I thought what he said about giving up was interesting.
- What’s that?
- That sometimes you have to give up on a book for it all to come together. Like how he said it went with “What is the What?” about Sudan.
- Well I don’t concern myself with how they write them. They either write them or they don’t. The audience seemed very interested in the one about the computers and whatnot.
- The Circle? He said it’s required reading at Facebook now.
- That’s another thing I don’t concern myself with. Life is short; there are enough faces out in the real world. Have you read his other books then?
- A couple, but actually, I think I’m more a fan because of what he does than what he writes, with his literacy projects, the McSweeney’s journal and the books that deal with big issues in the world. He’s a writer who really does stuff in the world. You don’t see that so often – not like with him.
- Do you think it’s true what the young man in the suit said about magic being inherently tragic?
- I don’t know... It did seem that way in the reading.
- Well yes, but authors can make almost anything seem sad. They seem to have a special knack for it.
- But the reading itself wasn’t sad. It had a sort of uplift, don’t you think?
- I thought it seemed true – about the cruise ships and those shows they have, and the way some people are always running away from something.
- Everyone seemed to love it, the reading I mean. They laughed a lot.
- Yes and so often these readings can be quite dull. Even with a handsome author one can’t be certain that it won’t be dull.
- You’ll need to buy your book and join the queue before it gets any longer.
- Well very nice chatting to you. Perhaps I’ll bump into you at the next Writers’ Festival.

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