The extensive archives of Douglas Coupland – one of Canada’s most renowned authors, an internationally recognized visual artist and a cultural icon who coined the term “Generation X” – have a new home at UBC Library.
Coupland’s archives consist of a vast array of records dating to 1980, including manuscripts, photos, visual art, fan mail, correspondence, press clippings, audio/visual material and more. Coupland plans to continue adding to his archives at UBC Library in coming years.
“For me it’s a great honour for UBC to accept my papers. I hope that within them, people in the future will find patterns and constellations that can’t be apparent to me or to anyone simply because they are there, and we are here,” says Coupland, who will receive an honorary degree from UBC on May 27. “The donation process makes me feel old and yet young at the same time. I’m deeply grateful for UBC’s support and enthusiasm.”
“UBC is honoured to serve as the home to the fascinating archives of Douglas Coupland,” says UBC President Stephen Toope. “We view this as the first step in a broad engagement with an important Canadian intellect.”
The entire holding is stored in 122 boxes and features about 30 metres of textual materials. “This is a very comprehensive look at Doug’s activities – we’re grateful for his generosity,” says Ralph Stanton, the Head of UBC Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections (RBSC) division, which is home to the archive.
A finding aid describing the collection’s contents was organized by Stephen Russo from UBC’s School of Library, Archival and Information Studies. It is available at www.library.ubc.ca/spcoll/AZ/PDF/C/Coupland_Douglas.pdf. Users can view the collection’s contents and make a request to view material.
Coupland is perhaps best known for his first and seminal novel, Generation X, which chronicles the tale of three 20-something friends grappling with their lives. Generation X went on to be a global cultural phenomenon.
The book originally began as an article for Vancouver magazine, and Coupland’s archives feature original copies of the book manuscript and a copy of the magazine article.
Coupland has gone on to write another 19 books, including Generation A, published in 2009. His UBC archives include first editions of many titles, numerous foreign editions, manuscripts and more. He also has written a biography of Marshall McLuhan that was recently released as part of Penguin Canada’s Extraordinary Canadians series.
While best-known as a novelist, Coupland is also an accomplished graphic designer, journalist, visual artist, playwright and filmmaker. Since 2000, he has created or contributed to a wide array of visual art projects, installations and exhibitions. His most recent public work, the 25-foot-tall Digital Orca, was recently installed at the Vancouver Convention Centre, on the west terrace of the West building.