Dave Eggers has become the youngest person ever to win one of the annual $250,000 awards from the Heinz Family Foundation, reports the Washington Post’s Bob Thompson. Eggers won for his work with 826Valencia, the nonprofit writing and tutoring center he founded in 2000 for literary issues pertaining to children ages six to eighteen. There are now seven centers around the US, and Eggers said the money would be split evenly among them.
“I think of it as a validation of the work that 826 does,” a grateful Eggers said in an interview. “Dave Eggers is not only an accomplished and versatile man of letters but the protagonist of a real-life story of generosity and inspiration,” said Heinz Family Foundation Chairman Teresa Heinz in a statement announcing the award. Interestingly, the news seems to have been sent around to most major media outlets (not to me, though) in advance with an embargo in effect – a stipulation that got the Literary Saloon’s M.A. Orthofer annoyed. “An embargo requires a contract, a mutual agreement, a quid pro quo — there has to be, to use the technical term, consideration, as the lawyers would have it. In the case of the e-mail we received, there was none. Just a hell of a lot of presumption.”