Infinite Jest turns 20 in 2016, and to mark the anniversary, the book’s publisher Little, Brown is asking readers to give the book a facelift by submitting a new cover design.
Submissions will be accepted starting tomorrow and running through September 15, with the winner to be chosen by the Wallace Literary Trust (meaning they probably won’t choose your design featuring Jason Segel as Wallace). The winner will get a $1,000 American Express gift card and “the opportunity for your original cover to be used as the front cover of the 20th Anniversary edition” of the book.
Wallace himself was ambivalent about the book’s cover, according to his interviews with David Lipsky in Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself:
[Closes it, looks at cover. Clouds and sky.]
This was my major complaint about the cover of the book. …Is that it looks — on American Airlines flights? The cloud system, it’s almost identical.
[On safety booklet for 757]
Oh, that’s funny. What did you want instead?
Oh, I had a number of — there’s a great photo of Fritz Lang directing Metropolis. Do you know this one? Where he’s standing there, and there are about a thousand shaven-headed men in kind of rows and phalanxes, and he’s standing there with a megaphone? It wouldn’t have been…Michael [Pietsch, Wallace’s editor at Little Brown] said it was too busy and too like conceptual, it required too much brain work on the part of the audience….
Because you were making a metaphor on the cover?
No, I just thought it was cool —
There has been some truly great artwork created to honor Infinite Jest over the years, and it should be really cool to see what people come up with for this contest.
And if you’re interested in what’s inside the cover, check out our Infinite Jest Liveblog.