‘The Human Connection Is Everything’: Dave Eggers on What He’s Learned From Tutoring Students

Book review. Nearly 20 years ago, Dave Eggers had already founded McSweeney’s Publishing and written A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius when he and some friends started a new venture: a youth writing and tutoring center. The original plan was to put the center in part of a building Eggers had rented for office space, but there was a snag: The building was zoned for retail, so the group had to sell something. …

EGGERS: It’s weird just to have a couch at school. Just to have stuffed chairs. Curtains. A Persian rug. Floor lamps. We’ve decorated a lot of writers rooms this way, and the effect is always dramatic. There’s a K–8 in Boston that gave 826 Boston its basement for a writers’ room, and 826 Boston made it into this deeply atmospheric, almost romantic space full of rich colors and low light, and even those green bankers’ lampshades. When the kids go down there, they feel a difference. The room says, “Here we slow down and write. Here we’re serious writers.” I think we really underestimate the effect our surroundings have on us.

By Tom Berger, Edutopia

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