Douglas Coupland and the Art of the 'Extreme Present'

deadline for submissions: 
February 20, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
Mary McCampbell

Douglas Coupland and the Art of the ‘Extreme Present’Virtual Conference, 23-24 April 2021CFP DEADLINE NOW EXTENDED TO 20TH FEBRUARY 2021

The author of thirteen novels, two collections of short stories, seven non-fiction books, and a prolific and celebrated visual artist, Douglas Coupland’s oeuvre is inherently concerned with what it means to be living in our ‘extreme present’. Marking the 30th anniversary of the publication of Coupland’s first novel, Generation X, this virtual international conference – the first on Coupland’s work – seeks to explore the richness of Coupland’s engagement with contemporary life across writings and visual culture.

We are delighted to announce that the conference will feature an interview with Douglas Coupland himself and keynote addresses by writer and curator Shumon Basar; writer, editor, art historian and curator Victoria Camblin; and Professor of English Literature Bran Nicol (University of Surrey). You can find out more about our keynote speakers here. We are also thrilled that, as part of the conference, Image Journal will host a writers’ panel discussion on Coupland’s work that includes Meghan O’Gieblyn, Diletta de Cristofaro, Nick Ripatrazone, and moderator, Lisa Ann Cockrel. Artist Makoto Fujimura will also join us to speak about the painting he created to commemorate the thirty-year anniversary of Generation X.

The organisers welcome proposals from any disciplines and theoretical perspectives, and from scholars at all career stages, on any topic related to Coupland’s oeuvre (fiction, non-fiction, visual art), included, but not limited to: 

  • Generation X at 30
  • the contemporary
  • spirituality
  • form and experimentation
  • technology
  • capitalism and consumer culture
  • temporality 
  • landscape and place
  • the Anthropocene
  • the Medical Humanities
  • generational divides
  • national identity
  • selfhood

We welcome proposals for a range of presentation formats, including traditional 20-minute conference papers, roundtables and panels, lightning talks of 5 minutes, and poster presentations.  

The virtual conference will consist in a mix of synchronous and asynchronous events. We will ask for your contribution to be pre-distributed to conference attendees in early April. You will be able to circulate your contribution as a written paper (slides optional), audio or video recording. On the days of the conference, we will provide a space for ‘live’ discussions of pre-circulated contributions.

Please send abstracts of between 250 and 300 words and a short professional bio (100 words max) to the conference organisers, Diletta De Cristofaro (Northumbria University, UK), Mary McCampbell (Lee University, USA), and Andrew Tate (Lancaster University, UK) at We have extended the closing date for submissions to 20th February 2021. 

We anticipate that selected contributions will be published in an edited collection and/or journal special issue. We are already in discussions with potential publishers.