What is the What: A Biography?

From class discussions, there is a strong dislike for the way the story is labeled and told; It is presented as a “fiction” and “autobiography” but written by an author who (Eggers) is far removed from the events itself. But what would happen if this story was labeled an biography? What if instead of I’s and drawing readers into the story with a technique of telling a story which is most acceptable to the masses, the book repeated use of the word he, they, and the distant language from the actual subject? How would this be accepted by the pop culture crowed? Would this even be pop culture? This change would eliminate the factor of buyers and readers having the ability to be apart of a movement (like project red), the book wouldn’t be problematic, but the story of Valentino would not be closely payed attention to, no profits would be made to help the people back in Sudan, and it would be another book on the shelf and another story left untold and more knowledge left unshared to the mainstream.

How would the class respond to the new structure of the book, and how would representation of the subject play a part in the class?


this book is everywhere!

Just to give a glimpse of the far-reaching effects this book has had, I wanted to provide a few links to check out.

The Valentino Achak Deng Foundation

Obviously, wikipedia

An interview with Achak

What is the What website


Achak and Eggers

I was surprised to see how effective the VAD foundation has been.  The work of this foundation has had significant and meaningful impacts on the people and landscape of Sudan.  The website is vast and in-depth and really worth checking out!