Openly gay (and single) Canadian polymath, Douglas Coupland has written 13 novels that have been published in many languages. He has written and performed for the Royal Shakespeare Company and is a columnist for The Financial Times of London. He is a frequent contributor to The New York Times and Vice. He is best known for observations on modern American culture and for popularizing the term ”Generation X”.
He grew up in Vancouver and went to art school to become a sculptor but then moved to Hawaii to study Japanese business science. After interning briefly at a company in Japan, he returned to Canada.
Coupland’s first published novel, Generation X: Tales For An Accelerated Culture (1991), is about the lives of three affluent, disaffected Californians in their 20s by way of a series of stories, cartoons and dictionary-style definitions of cultural buzzwords. The novel was very popular, and its title was soon applied to the generation of Americans born during the 1960s and 1970s.
Coupland has published a book of photographs, essays, and short fiction titled Polaroids From The Dead (1996), the novel Girlfriend In A Coma (1998) and Lara’s Book: Lara Croft And The Tomb Raider Phenomenon (1999) an illustrated tribute to the computer game Tomb Raider. Other novels include Miss Wyoming (1999), Hey Nostradamus! (2003), and The Gum Thief (2007). Coupland also wrote the screenplay for Everything’s Gone Green (2006).
His artwork is included in the collections of Vancouver Art Gallery, The Royal Ontario Museum, Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, Rotterdam’s Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, and Munich’s Villa Stücke in Munich. In 2015 and 2016 Coupland was artist in residence in the Paris Google Cultural Institute. In May 2018 his exhibition on Climate Change and ecology, Vortex, opened at the Vancouver Aquarium and will be traveling globally throughout 2019-2021. His National Portrait is an installation of over 1,000 3D-printed heads and busts at the Ottawa Art Gallery.
His current project is an exhibition called 24/7: A Wake Up Call For Our Non-Stop World. It explores our culture in which we sleep less, consume content via screens at all hours, disconnect from our surroundings and have our every interaction data-mined and predicted. 24/7 is at Somerset House, London, opening October 31 through February.
Coupland is a member of the Royal Canadian Academy and a Chevlier de l’Order des Arts et des Lettres.