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David Foster Wallace

David Foster Wallace was a contributing editor to Harper’s Magazine.

Wallace’s work first appeared in the September 1989 issue of the magazine with the story “Everything Is Green,” from Girl with Curious Hair (1989). Five other short stories of his were published in the magazine: “The Awakening of My Interest in Annual Systems” (September 1993), an excerpt from the then-unfinished Infinite Jest (1996); “Rabbit Resurrected” (August 1992), a parody of John Updike’s “Rabbit” series; “The Depressed Person” (January 1998), which was published in Brief Interviews with Hideous Men (1999) and received an O. Henry Award; “Brief Interviews with Hideous Men” (October 1998), which comprises several “brief interviews” from the eponymous short-story collection; and “The Compliance Branch” (February 2008), an excerpt from his unfinished, final novel, The Pale King (2011).

Wallace also wrote four works of non-fiction for the magazine: “Tennis, Trigonometry, Tornadoes” (December 1991), later published as “Derivative Sport in Tornado Alley” in A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again (1997); “Ticket to the Fair” (July 1994), later publish­­ed as “Getting Away from Already Pretty Much Being Away from It All” in the same volume; “Shipping Out” (January 1996), later published as the title piece in the same volume (“It was very clear to us that we had pure cocaine on our hands,” Harper’s editor Colin Harrison said after reading the article); and “Tense Present: Democracy, English, and the Wars over Usage” (April 2001), later published as “Authority and American Usage” in Consider the Lobster (2005).

Wallace died on September 12, 2008. During his life, he received a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship “Genius Grant,” a Lannan Literary Award, a Whiting Award, and three O. Henry Awards, among others. He was named to the usage panel of the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language in 1999, and in 2005 Infinite Jest was named one of the best one hundred English-language novels since 1923 by Time magazine. The Pale King, edited by Michael Pietsch, was a finalist for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize, and lost in a three-way tie to nothing.

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July 1998

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