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Volume 36, Number 2 (2011)

A Conversation with Douglas Coupland: The Hideous, the Cynical, and the Beautiful

March 8, 2012


Douglas Coupland is one of Canada’s most successful novelists, and he is also an important cultural critic and visual artist. In this, Coupland’s first academic interview in a prolific twenty-year career, the artist offers his unique perspective on everything from the broad cultural significance of the A&E television series Hoarders to the inclusion of Generation X in the CBC’s Canada Reads competition. Coupland candidly discusses his ambivalent relationship with Canadian literature, eventually touching on his biography of Marshall McLuhan and on being considered for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. He explains the centrality of death in his work and his belief in the idea that anything can be made into art. As he contemplates questions of audience, irony, and influence, he looks back on an accomplished career and on the way technology and history – both his own personal history and North American history – has shaped his body of work thus far.