LITERARY LOCATION: Northeast corner of Gladstone and Kingsway (2211 Kingsway).

As described in Michael Turner's third book, Kingsway, here the Gladstone Inn was erected shortly after the Royal Engineers widened the First Nations foot path and subsistence trail now known as Kingsway in the mid-1860s. As an art critic and historian, Turner views this seemingly inauspicious location as the site of "the first post-European 'contact' structure" to be erected along the vital Kingsway thoroughfare connecting New Westminster and Vancouver. In 2015, the site was shared by Apollo Muffler and an ANAVets Legion, but it was many things before that. In 1937, it was a jazz joint called the Hi-Hat Cabaret. For more info, Turner recommends Major Matthews' Mount Pleasant Early Days: Memories of Rueben Hamilton Pioneer 1890, City Archives, City Hall, Vancouver (1957).


Born in North Vancouver in 1962, Michael Turner co-founded the band Hard Rock Miners in 1987. Prior to his emergence as a writer, arts curator and critic, he was initially primarily known as a musician and an organizer of readings and events at the Malcolm Lowry Lounge in Burnaby, and at the Railway Club in Vancouver.

Having spent some summers working in a fish cannery on the Skeena River as a teenager, Turner first published a collection of poems, Company Town, that was shortlisted for the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize. Turner won a 1996 Genie for "Who The Hell Do You Think You Are?", the song in the film Hard Core Logo based on his book of the same name. Hard Core Logo was a memoir/documentary fiction about a touring punk rock band.

His third book, Kingsway (1995), is a suite of poems about Vancouver's oldest thoroughfare, a diagonal and commercially varied street that passes through changing neighborhoods. Turner's single stanza poems approximate the city blocks as tributes to the mostly working class history of the strip. A 20th anniversay edition includes a new essay and photos by the author.

Kingsway was followed by an amalgam of genres in the form of a screenplay, American Whiskey Bar, that became a live TV experiment by Moses Znaimer and Bruce McDonald. It was re-released in 2004 with a foreword by William Gibson.

Turner received the 1999 Ethel Wilson Prize for Fiction for The Pornographer's Poem, an audacious work about a young filmmaker who falls prey to greed, delusion and hypocrisy. Turner has also co-written two screenplays with artist Stan Douglas for DV installation/TV broadcast, a screenplay with filmmaker Bruce LaBruce about the life of photographer Wilhelm Von Gloeden and a libretto commissioned by the Modern Baroque Opera Company based on Wilhelm Busch's Max & Mortiz.

The SFU English Department invited Turner to be its first Writer-in-Residence from September 2009 to May 2010.

He lives in Vancouver where he founded Advance Editions in 1998, in conjunction with Arsenal Pulp Press. Advance Editions produced four titles between 1999 and 2002: Wayde Compton's 49th Parallel Psalm, Neil Wedman's Burlesck, Marina Roy's Sign After the X and Nathalie Stephens's Somewhere Running. The last book in the series was to be Stan Douglas's Every Building on 100 Block West Hastings but Arsenal ended the partnership and took over the project that Turner initiated. He subsequently provided the introductory essay for Fred Herzog: Vancouver Photographs (D&M 2007). [See below]

Music groups have concept albums, so why not a concept novel? Michael Turner's 8 X 10 (Doubleday) doesn't refer only to the standard size of a glossy, promotional photo. It's about the lives of eight people told over ten events. "No one is known by their names," he writes, "or their ethnicity but by their relationships to each other... and by their occupations." The year and the places are also unrevealed. Namelessness and timelessness, in theory, reflect today's uncertainty and indecision, war and migration, love and loss.


Company Town (Arsenal Pulp, 1991)
Hard Core Logo (Arsenal Pulp, 1993)
Kingsway (Arsenal Pulp, 1995, 2015) $14.95 978-1-155152-626-3
American Whiskey Bar (Arsenal Pulp, 1997, 2004)
The Pornographer's Poem (Doubleday, 1999)
Fred Herzog: Vancouver Photographs (D&M, 2007) $45 1-55365-255-X
8 X 10 (Doubleday, 2009) $27.95 978-0-385-66593-3
9 X 11 (New Star, 2018) $18 978-1-55420-150-1

[Alan Twigg / BCBW 2018] "Fiction" "Movie"