What: Dave Eggers headlines the second 2016-17 Author! Author! series presentation

When: 7 p.m. Jan. 19

Where: Bend High School auditorium (230 NE Sixth St.)

Cost: $25 general admission; free for high school students in Deschutes County (with school ID)

Contact: dplfoundation.org or 541-312-1027

Dave Eggers is involved in so many professional, philanthropic, political and social activist projects it’s hard to keep track of them all. But the 46-year-old writer says he also wants to try raising chickens, learning an instrument and knife juggling. OK — he’s joking (probably) about those new hobbies, but thankfully he has carved out time to visit Bend on Jan. 19 for the second of Deschutes Public Library Foundation’s 2016-17 Author! Author! presentations (see “If you go”).

Eggers has authored several acclaimed works, including the ironically (yet accurately) titled Pulitzer Prize finalist “A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius,” National Book Award finalist “A Hologram for the King,” National Book Critics Circle Award finalist “What Is the What: The Autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng,” and his most recent novel, “Heroes of the Frontier.” He has also written and co-authored several other novels, nonfiction works, collections of short stories and screenplays.

In addition, Eggers founded the respected literary journal and independent publishing house McSweeney’s. He has penned articles, political serials and commentary for Salon.com, The Guardian, ESPN The Magazine and others. He’s also had his paintings and drawings displayed in several solo gallery shows.

He has become a philanthropist and social activist, co-founding 826 National, a network of seven creative writing and tutoring centers around the U.S. for under-resourced children from 6 to 18 years old.

Eggers founded and serves on the board of ScholarMatch, a nonprofit that matches underserved college-bound students with donors and a network of resources aimed at boosting graduation rates.

In his spare time, Eggers engages in a little political activism with projects such as 30 Songs, 30 Days, in which he recruited musicians and bands including Death Cab for Cutie, Aimee Mann, R.E.M. and others to release songs for a “Trump-free America” in the lead up to the most recent presidential election. He’s also a husband and father of two.

Despite wearing so many different hats, Eggers hasn’t lost his sense of humor, as you’ll see in the responses he provided via email to the following questions.

Q: How do you manage so many competing demands on your time and still find time to write?

A: Right now finding time and will to write is tough. I wake up, I read some inane and misspelled tweet our president-elect has sent, and I fall down a well of despair. It’s tough to get out and get some work done. Today, I’m sending emails.

Q: Is there one role or project you’re particularly engaged with right now?

A: We started a college access organization called ScholarMatch, and the staff there has been doing astonishing work. We have 144 low-income students in college right now and over the last five years, we have had a 97 percent retention rate. For decades it’s been a problem in search of a solution — it’s one thing to get high-achieving low-income students into college, another to make sure they have the support system to graduate. ScholarMatch gives their students constant advice and guidance — including intense financial counseling — over four, five, even six years. This has made all the difference. When students have that support system all the way through school, their chances of graduating increase dramatically. On top of that, ScholarMatch graduates most students without debt, so that’s really significant, too.

Q: Is there a project you wish you could spend more time on, but have had to push to the back burner?

A: I’ve been meaning to build a chicken coop in the backyard. All I need is the time, the wood, the tools and the chickens.

Q: You’ve worked to help publicize and improve working conditions and salaries for U.S. teachers. Which job do you think is tougher (and why): teacher or writer?

A: I don’t think a writer’s job is particularly difficult. It’s a very lucky place to be — to be able to pay the mortgage through typing. A teacher’s job, though, is truly hard, and in the U.S. we make it far harder. We underpay, under support and under appreciate our teachers, which honestly makes no sense. My colleague Ninive Calegari — the co-founder of 826 National — started a nonprofit called the Teacher Salary Project, which takes aim at the problem of low teacher salaries. It’s Ninive’s belief, and one I share, that if we want to attract and keep the best and brightest in the teaching profession, we have to pay them fairly. Right now about 50 percent of teachers leave the profession within the first five years, and that costs our education system billions in lost knowledge base. It’s a leaky bucket. If good young teachers are paid better, they can stay in the profession to become great teachers, and great teachers can transform our education system within a generation. It starts and ends with teachers, period.

Q: Your most recent novel, “Heroes of the Frontier,” (released July 2016) tells the story of dentist Josie, who heads to Alaska with her two young children to escape her personal and professional crises. What inspired this story?

A: I’d been thinking of Josie for a while — a single mom with two kids whose life has no mystery or heroism in it. In Alaska, she and her young kids become better humans and far more brave. I’ve been so interested in how seldom we consider bravery a crucial trait in parents or kids. With bravery and empathy, what else do you need? I guess maybe good hair.

Q: If you were to “run away” like Josie in order to inspire or reinvent yourself, where would you go?

A: Iceland. It’s my favorite landscape and very easy to disappear into.

Q: What will you focus on in your Author! Author! presentation in Bend on Jan. 19?

A: I hope to do some knife-juggling. And I’ll definitely include some free-form jazz. I don’t play any instrument, but I have a few weeks to learn.

Q: Will this be your first visit to Bend?

A: It will be. I’m excited.

Chantal Strobel, library community relations and development manager, said Eggers will also meet with students from the Oregon National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program during his visit. The Deschutes Public Library system provided free copies of Eggers’ books to the alternative high school program and to high schools in Redmond and Bend, and also provided 50 free event tickets to Central Oregon Community College students.

In a departure from the usual Author! Author! format, Eggers will be interviewed on stage by local artist, rapper and poet Jason Graham (aka MOsley WOtta), giving the evening a more conversational slant. The library foundation is gathering questions in advance from ticket holders to be presented to Eggers during the event. Submit your question via email to admin@dplfoundation.org .

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