Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  David Foster Wallace  

Pen Name: None

Genre: C:ADULT Fiction

Born: 1962 in Ithaca, New York


Illinois Connection

Wallace was raised in Champaign-Urbana.

Biographical and Professional Information

David Foster Wallace was born in Ithaca, New York, in 1962 and raised in Illinois, where he was a regionally ranked junior tennis player. He received bachelor of arts degrees in philosophy and English from Amherst College and wrote what would become his first novel, ''The Broom of the System'', as his senior English thesis. He received a masters of fine arts from University of Arizona in 1987 and briefly pursued graduate work in philosophy at Harvard University. Wallace published short fiction in ''Might, GQ, Playboy, The Paris Review, Harper's Magazine, Mid-American Review, Conjunctions, Esquire, Open City, Timothy McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, The New Yorker,'' and ''Science''. In 1997, Wallace received the Aga Khan Prize for Fiction, awarded by editors of ''The Paris Review'' for one of the stories in ''Brief Interviews''—"Brief Interviews with Hideous Men #6"—which had appeared in the magazine.His second novel, ''Infinite Jest'', was published in 1996. Wallace taught creative writing at Emerson College, Illinois State University, and Pomona College, where he was the first Roy E. Disney Professor of Creative Writing. He published the story collections ''Girl with Curious Hair'', ''Brief Interviews with Hideous Men'', ''Oblivion'', the essay collections ''A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again'', and ''Consider the Lobster''. He was awarded the MacArthur Fellowship, a Lannan Literary Award, and a Whiting Writers' Award, and was appointed to the Usage Panel for The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. He died in 2008. His last novel, ''The Pale King'', was published in 2011.

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