Artsy book nerds, come earn the ire of English students everywhere — not to mention a $1,000 American Express gift card. This September, Publishing house Little, Brown is holding a contest to design the cover art for the 20th anniversary edition of Infinite Jest, to be released in February 2016.
The move by the publishing company looks to capitalize on the anniversary and the canonization of Wallace in recent years, and it comes at just the right time. The movie version of Wallace’s post-Infinite Jest moment, The End of the Tour, is now in theaters, and there’s been a modest if well-placed groundswell of support to change the name of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport to the David Foster Wallace International Airport. And for whatever it may be worth, the seventh anniversary of Wallace’s suicide also happens to be in September.
An anniversary re-do of his magnum opus will not only introduce it to a whole slew of new readers, but also make the further case for Wallace’s canonization as one of the finest and most enduring writers of his generation.
Contest entries will be taken until September 15, 2015, after which the winner will be chosen by judges from the Wallace Literary Trust and be given the aforementioned $1,000 gift card for their troubles. In typically elaborate Wallace fashion, submissions will be judged by a certain set of criteria: 40 percent of the vote will be based on originality and creativity, 40 percent will be based on the image’s relevance to the legacy of Infinite Jest, and 20 percent will be its simple suitability as cover art for a book.
Little, Brown hasn’t posted any early submissions just yet, but we’d imagine the cover art submitted so far may feature the Enfield Tennis Academy or a variation on the Subsidized Time schemes from the book’s plot. Bonus points for any artist out there who could figure out a way to fit the “Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment” or the “Year of the Perdue Wonderchicken” onto a book cover.
For those itching for inspiration, this fan page of unofficial cover art is a good place to look. Those who want to try their hand at their own cover art for brick-sized books destined to gather dust on nightstands, head over to the official site here to submit.