David Foster Wallace (February 21, 1962 — September 12, 2008) was an award-winning American novelist, short story writer, essayist, and professor at Pomona College in Claremont, California. Wallace is widely known for his 1996 novel Infinite Jest, which was cited as one of the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to 2005 by Time magazine.
Los Angeles Times book editor David Ulin called Wallace “one of the most influential and innovative writers of the last 20 years”. With his suicide, he left behind an unfinished novel, The Pale King, which was subsequently published in 2011, and in 2012 was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. A biography of Wallace by D. T. Max, Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story, was published in September 2012
In May 2005, Wallace delivered the commencement address to the graduating class at Kenyon College. The speech was published as a book in 2009 under the title This Is Water.
Wallace committed suicide by hanging himself on September 12, 2008. In an interview with The New York Times, Wallace’s father reported that Wallace had suffered from depression for more than 20 years and that antidepressant medication had allowed him to be productive. When he experienced severe side effects from the medication, Wallace attempted to wean himself from his primary antidepressant, phenelzine. On his doctor’s advice, Wallace stopped taking the medication in June 2007, and the depression returned. Wallace received other treatments, including electroconvulsive therapy. When he returned to phenelzine, he found it had lost its effectiveness. In the months before his death, his depression became severe.