What Is the What is the epic novel based on the life of Valentino Achak Deng who, along with thousands of other children —the so-called 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, 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. Moving, suspenseful, and unexpectedly funny, What Is the What is an astonishing novel that illuminates the lives of millions through one extraordinary man.
Dave Eggers is the author of twelve books, including The Monk of Mokha; The Circle; Heroes of the Frontier; A Hologram for the King, a finalist for the National Book Award; and What Is the What, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and winner of France’s Prix Médicis Etranger. He is the founder of McSweeney’s and the cofounder of 826 Valencia, a youth writing center that has inspired similar programs around the world, and of ScholarMatch, which connects donors with students to make college accessible. He is the winner of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize and is the cofounder of Voice of Witness, a book series that illuminates human rights crises through oral history. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His work has been translated into forty-two languages.