Donald Barthelme was born on April 7, 1931, and was one of the major U.S. short story writers and novelists of the late twentieth century. Barthelme satirized American life. Born in Philadelphia, Barthelme spent part of his early life in Houston, Texas, and began to write fiction while working as a journalist, director of an art museum and university publicist. These occupations became fuel for his creative fire. His arsenal of techniques included parodies of television shows, radio plays and recipes, long and elaborate metaphors, complex dream sequences, and a break-neck narrative pace. After the publication of his first collection, Come Back Dr. Caligari (1964), Barthelme became a full-time writer of short stories and novels. The latter included Snow White (1967), The Dead Father (1975), and Paradise (1986). Barthelme also published three more short story collections, 60 Stories (1981), Overnight to Many Distant Cities (1983), and 40 Stories (1987). Barthelme died of cancer in 1989.
Dave Eggers was born on March 12th, 1970, in Boston, Massachusetts. His family moved to Lake Forest, Illinois when he was a child. Eggers attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, until his parents' deaths in 1991 and 1992. The loss left him responsible for his eight-year-old brother and later became the inspiration for his highly acclaimed memoir "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius". Published in 2000, the memoir was nominated for a nonfiction Pulitzer the following year. Eggers edits the popular "The Best American Nonrequired Reading" published annually. In 1998, he founded the independent publishing house, McSweeney's which publishes a variety of magazines and literary journals. Eggers has also opened several nonprofit writing centers for high school students across the United States. Eggers has written several novels and his title, A Hologram for the King, was a finalist for the 2012 National Book Award. His most recent work of fiction, entitled The Circle, was published in 2013.