Playing with Fire: 'Fahrenheit 451' Gets a 60th-Anniversary Cover Redesign

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Fahrenheit 451 is the Ray Bradbury novel you've surely read at least once in high school. Like many, you may also have read and re-read it over the years, finding new meaning with each return to the classic work, which is slight but powerful at fewer than 200 pages. It's one of the most frequently banned books in America, which is somewhat ironic given that it's about book-burning—books are outlawed in Bradbury's imagined dystopian society, and firemen have the duty of burning houses found to contain any printed work. (According to Bradbury, the novel is about not censorship but how television destroys our interest in literature—a perpetually modern take despite the book's 1953 publication date.) Nearly sixty years ago, the first cover of the book, from Ballantine, looked like this:

Fun fact: The third issue of the first edition was bound in asbestos board, and the novel's e-book version came out in December of 2011. Now Simon & Schuster is holding a jacket-design contest, deadline December 7, in honor of the book's 60th anniversary. The current cover, via Mediabistro, is here (it's not too terribly different from the original):

So what should the 2013 cover look like? Publisher Simon & Schuster has put a call out for reader submissions, which they're posting via Tumblr. Along with the honor of being chosen, as Jason Boog writes, "The winner will get $1,500 and see their design on the cover of the first print run of 2013 anniversary edition." Pretty cool.

Recommended Reading

Turns out, there are many pretty design-effective ways to play with fire. Here are a few of our favorites so far, out of the many excellent, creative revamps.

by Matthew Thomas Scibilia, Round Rock, TX

by Morgan Ashley Wolf, Eagle, ID

by Joshua Frick, Pittsburgh, PA

by Alyssa Phillips, Brooklyn, NY

by Clara Curtis, Oklahoma City, OK

by Joe O’Neill, Kansas City, MO

by Evan Raymond Spitzer, Chalfont, PA

by Kate Afanasyeva, New York, NY

by Jeff Bowman, Edmond OK

by Dana Moreshead, Los Angeles, CA

by Eric Corbin Melton, English, IN

by Josh Hibbard, Dayton, OH

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.