David Foster Wallace (1962–2008)
American novelist and nonfiction writer. Born in Ithaca, New York, Wallace grew up in Champaign and Urbana, Illinois, the son of two college professors. He earned a B.A. in English and philosophy at Amherst College; his English thesis would become his first novel, The Broom of the System (1987). He went on to earn an M.F.A. in creative writing at the University of Arizona. His second novel, the massive Infinite Jest (1996), showcases Wallace’s penchant for experimental metafiction, baroque language, ironic detachment, and layered footnotes. Wallace’s ten books include the short story collections Brief Interviews with Hideous Men (1999) and Oblivion (2004), and the essay collections A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again (1997) and Consider the Lobster (2005). Wallace received a MacArthur Foundation Grant in 1997. His third novel, The Pale King, was unfinished when he took his own life in 2008. See also davidfosterwallace.com.