Author Douglas Coupland to talk about Marshall McLuhan

Douglas Coupland, author of Generation X and Microserfs, will speak at York about his new biography of Marshall McLuhan as part of the launch of the Marshall McLuhan centenary events taking place throughout Canada, the United States and Europe. McLuhan would have turned 100 on July 21.

The event, an on-stage conversation with York English Professor B.W. Powe, will take place Friday, Jan. 28 at 4pm in the Founders College Dining Hall, Keele campus.

Powe (BA ’77, PhD ’09) is a philosopher, essayist, poet and novelist. He is the author of The Solitary Outlaw, Towards a Canada of Light, Mystic Trudeau: The Fire and the Rose, the novel Outage and poetry collection The Unsaid Passing – shortlisted for the ReLit Prize in 2006 – as well as the forthcoming These Shadows Remain: A Fable.

Coupland has published more than 10 novels and several non-fiction books. In his biography of McLuhan, Extraordinary Canadians: Marshall McLuhan (Viking Canada, 2010), he brings his usual humour as he looks at how McLuhan’s written works are more cited than read. He notes, however, that many of McLuhan’s predictions regarding technology have been borne out, including that the visual, individualistic print culture would be replaced by an electronic interdependency which would create a new global village.

Left: B. W. Powe

To Coupland, the celebrated academic is primarily an artist who offered sometimes obscure insights into how technology was reshaping the world and its inhabitants.

Born in 1961 on a Canadian Air Force base in Germany, Coupland’s family moved to Vancouver in 1965, where he continues to live and work. His first novel, Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture (St. Martin’s Griffin, 1991), was populated by 20-something Gen Xers. Microserfs (Harper Collins Publishing Ltd., 2009) is about programmers searching for lives.

He has written and performed for the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford, England, and in 2001 resumed his practice as a visual artist, with exhibitions in spaces in North America, Europe and Asia.

Visions and Communications, Healing and Shamanism

On Monday, Jan. 31, from 11am to 3pm in the Founders College Senior Common Room, Raven, an Ojibway shaman, will conduct a healing circle and speak on the First Nations’ visionary traditions.

She will offer an experience of shamanism and a demonstration of the rich oral traditions of her culture.

The events are hosted by York’s McLuhan Initiative for the Study of Literacies, Founders College, the Department of English Speakers Series and the Canadian Studies Program in the Department of Humanities.

Everyone is welcome to attend either event. Refreshments will be served.

For more information, contact Professor B.W. Powe at