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Dave Eggers' school 'is changing Sudanese lives'

3rd August 2010

Author Dave Eggers believes that his work to build a school in south Sudan has been 'life-changing' for its pupils.

The A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius writer told the Guardian that he never expected to start the project when he first met Sudanese refugee Valentino Achak Deng seven years ago.

However, Eggers was so taken with Achak Deng's suffering during the Sudanese civil war that he turned his story into the bestselling novel What Is The What and the two formed a lasting friendship.

They also vowed to use the money raised by the book to help rejuvenate Achak Deng's hometown of Marial Bai and were told by the community's elders that a secondary school is what the town needed most.

Commenting on the school's first year, Eggers told the newspaper: 'Now students are coming from hundreds of miles around to attend the school and this is an essential development to the rebuilding of south Sudan.'

In April, the author won the Los Angeles Times' inaugural innovators award for founding more than 800 literacy centres for at-risk children and managing independent publishing house McSweeney's.
 

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