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Home > Blog > October 2007 > One Book, One Philadelphia Picks Dave Eggers' What Is the What for 2008

This morning Mayor John F. Street officially kicked off the 2008 One Book, One Philadelphia reading period with the announcement of this year’s One Book featured reading selection. “The One Book, One Philadelphia Selection Committee has chosen Dave Eggers’ powerful novel What Is the What as the 2008 featured reading selection,” said Mayor Street. “This novel is a timely choice given the current situation in the Darfur region of Sudan , and we are confident that the themes addressed will lend themselves to discussions about issues of violence in the world, as well as in our own city.” Based closely on actual experiences, What Is the What tells the fictionalized story of Valentino Achak Deng , who as a child witnessed atrocities of civil warfare in Sudan and became one of the so-called Lost Boys. Following the announcement by Mayor Street, a special video message from Dave Eggers and Valentino Achak Deng, filmed specially for the occasion, was screened publicly for the first time. “We are so thrilled that you have chosen What Is the What,” said Eggers. “We couldn’t be happier or more proud to be part of the [One Book] program.... This is really why we undertook the project in the first place, so that [Valentino’s story] could reach a wide audience, [especially] those who might not know much about the civil war in Sudan.” Going into its sixth consecutive year, this year’s One Book, One Philadelphia program will again feature a variety of author lectures, panel discussions, exhibits, performances, and other activities that will take place between January 8 and March 20, 2008.

Mayor John F. Street holds up a copy of the 2008 One Book reading selection.
Mayor John F. Street holds up a copy of the 2008 One Book reading selection.
Valentino Achak Deng (left) and Dave Eggers
Valentino Achak Deng (left) and Dave Eggers
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