Biography of Douglas Coupland


Douglas Coupland was born December 30, 1961 on a Canadian military base in Baden-Sollingen, Germany. He is the third of four sons of Douglas Charles Thomas who is a doctor and C. Janet (Campbell) Coupland who originally came from Winnipeg (no remaining relatives there). Of his family, he has said "I come from an unemotional, undemonstrative family." He returned to Vancouver at the age of 4 in 1965, was raised there. His parents still reside in the same house he grew up in. During his childhood, he had no religious upbringing and sleep was very important to the family: he and other family members often missed class because of the need to sleep.

Coupland graduated in 1979 from Sentinel Secondary School in West Vancouver. After graduating Emily Carr College of Art and Design in Vancouver in 1984 from the studio program in sculpture, Coupland travelled to Hawaii, the European Design Insitute in Milan, Italy and the Hokkaido College of Art and Design in Sapporo, Japan. In Japan, he completed a two-year course in Japanese business science along with fine art and industrial design in 1986. He enjoyed early success as a sculptor, including a solo show at the Vancouver Art Gallery entitled "The Floating World" in November 1987. He was offered a writing job after the editor of a local paper (Malcolm Parry) was amused by a postcard he had written while living in Japan and asked him to do a piece on a noted Los Angeles art dealer. Of this job, he called it a "bottom-of-the-food-chain" with "Our office cubicles were like veal-fattening pens. There was just no dignity."

Coupland's interest in Generation X first emerged in a 1988 article for Vancouver magazine. He continued the project, with cartoonist Paul Leroche, in a strip the two created for Vista in Toronto, the short-lived magazine published by auto-parts magnate Frank Stronach. It was in Toronto that he got into the habit of taking refuge underneath desks. St. Martin's Press in New York asked him to write a guide to Generation X - something on the model of the Yuppie Handbook in the fall of 1989. Instead, Coupland moved to Palm Springs, California, to write his first book, Generation X. He has repeatedly resisted, after the publication of Generation X, to be called the spokesperson for his generation. "I speak for myself, not for a generation. I never have."

He currently divides his time between Vancouver, Los Angeles, northern Scotland and other "psychically strong" -as he calls them- regions. However he mainly lives in West Vancouver in a house designed by Ron Thon. Coupland has won two Canadian National Awards for Excellence in Industrial Design. He refuses to own furniture, collects only meteorites, art objects and letters which are locked in a vault in Vancouver. His ten novels to date, Generation X (1991), Shampoo Planet (1992), Life After God (1994), Microserfs (1995), Polaroids From the Dead (1996), Girlfriend in a Coma (1998), Lara's Book: Lara Croft and the Tomb Raider Phenomenon (1998), Miss Wyoming (1999) and City of Glass (2000) have been translated into 22 languages and 30 countries. Coupland is also a regular contributor to The New York Times, the New Republic and ArtForum. His on-going design experiments include everything from launching a line of furniture to Smirnoff vodka ads for the New Yorker (a fundraiser for the Western Canada Wilderness Committee). His journalism ranges form a short story on Dolly the cloned sheep in Time magazine (U.S. edition) to guest-editing two special issues of Vancouver Magazine on Vancouver's quirky future as a city state on the Pacific.

Biographies of Coupland by others

Analítica (Spanish)
Barcelona Review
Booklist Magazine
The 1998 Canadian Encyclopedia
CBC 4 Kids
Galerie Friebe (German)
The Guardian
Koala Press (Swedish)
National Library of Canada (English)
National Library of Canada (French) (Spanish)
Peinard (French)
Tim Schimmeck (German)
Single Dasein (German)
Spiegel (German)
Standart (Danish)
TED Conference
Vancouver International Writers Festival