Dave Eggers: ‘Being around young people is the balm to all psychic wounds’

The author on the builders who inspired his new book, Trump’s appeal and the energising power of young people

Dave Eggers is a writer, publisher and humanitarian campaigner. He has written 14 books, including A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, What Is the What, The Circle and Heroes of the Frontier. He lives in San Francisco with his wife, the writer Vendela Vida, and their two children. His new novel, The Parade, tells the story of the role played by two visitors in a nation’s fragile peace.

Where did the idea for The Parade come from?
Back in 2006, I was in [what is now] South Sudan with Valentino Achak Deng [the refugee whose life story Eggers told in What Is the What] and we were near Aweil, driving on some pretty rough dirt roads, when we came upon a giant six-lane highway being built, connecting Aweil to Khartoum. We were surprised to see it was being built by a Swedish company. That stuck in my mind a bit, the oddity of this Scandinavian crew building a road in a post-conflict zone – a road that might some day be used to facilitate military incursions. After that, whenever I saw foreign contractors in post-conflict zones, I was fascinated by their role and what kind of awareness or sense of responsibility they might have toward the implications of their projects.

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