Writer and artist Douglas Coupland might be best-known for coining the title of a generation with his seminal text Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture, but the prolific author’s writings extend well beyond his 1991 international bestseller.
Composing 14 novels, two collections of short stories, a number of playscripts for film, stage, and TV, and eight non-fiction books—including a homage to architecture in the downtown core—the Vancouver native has put the city on the map with his cutting satire of contemporary culture.
Recognized for his contribution to B.C. literature, the author has today been named the recipient of the 14th annual Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Literary Excellence. Established in 2003 by the Honourable Iona Compagnolo to commemorate British Columbia writers whose outstanding works have progressed the lineage of literature, the prize is testament to Coupland’s commitment to immortalizing the province in print.
“Douglas Coupland has given B.C. literature a good name globally, more so than any other author,” said the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Literary Excellence jury in a press release. “He has produced a widely-praised and startlingly original body of work primarily based on his observations of life in the Pacific Northwest where he has lived almost continuously since age four. In addition to his novels—exploring modern loneliness, new technology, and the godlessness of disposable culture—his non-fiction works such as his biography of Terry Fox reflect his deep and abiding affinity for British Columbia.”
Coupland’s resumé is comprehensive. As well as publishing over 27 texts, the writer is responsible for some of the best public art showcased around the city. Fashioning the “Digital Orca” statue near the Vancouver Convention Centre, the “Infinite Tires” installation in South Vancouver, and the “Golden Tree” sculpture at Marine Drive and Cambie, his work is apparent all over the lower mainland.
One of the city’s creative powerhouses, Coupland—who is already decorated with the Order of Canada, the Order of British Columbia, and three honorary doctorates—is, as the Lieutenant Governor's Award jury points out, an obvious choice for the prize.
“Only Malcolm Lowry, after his brief tenure in North Vancouver to write Under The Volcano, and Alice Munro, who spent her formative years as a writer in West Vancouver and Victoria, have come close to matching Douglas Coupland’s ongoing contribution towards putting British Columbia on the literary map of the world,” the trio of judges said.
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