by Michael Kluckner

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"Speaking seriously, we know that a really good book will more likely than not receive fair treatment from two or three reviewers; yes, but also more likely than not it will be swamped in the flood of literature that pours forth week after week, and won't have attention fixed long enough upon it to establish its repute. The struggle for existence among books is nowadays as severe as among men. . . . The simple, sober truth has no chance whatever of being listened to, and it's only by volume of shouting that the ear of the public is held."
--Jasper Milvain to his sister Dora in New Grub Street by George Gissing, 1891
Read more cynical observations about writing and the book business from this century-old novel

"In any case, rather like priests who have forgotten the meaning of the prayers they chant, we shall go on for quite a long time talking of books and writing books, pretending all the while not to notice that the church is empty and the parishioners have gone elsewhere to attend other gods, perhaps in silence or with new words." – Gore Vidal, "French Letters," in Matters of Fact and Fiction (Random House, 1977) (RIP August, 2012)

The Rooming House
The West Coast in the Seventies

ISBN 978-1-988242-46-0
160 pages, 6 x 9 inches
Published by Midtown Press, Vancouver

In the 1960s and early '70s, thousands of youths were on the road, hitchhiking across Canada and the USA and travelling through Europe, living in rooming houses in cities like Vancouver and in communes in the country. Their individual stories played out on a canvas stretched across the frame of world events including Vietnam, Woodstock, Watergate, and the emerging environmental movement, often in a climate of idealism, protest and anger.

This book follows several of these young men and women sharing an old home in Vancouver's Kitsilano district, tracking their loves, losses and wanderings through the diary entries of two of them. It is both a coming-of-age novel and an exploration of the events of those years, complete with a downloadable soundtrack of rock classics and notes for readers who weren't around then.

An overview with some sample page spreads is here.

Artwork of Vancouver & Beyond

ISBN 978-1-988242-38-5
80 pages, 8 1/2 x 11 inches, colour
Published by Midtown Press, Vancouver

My first collection of paintings and other artwork published in nine years, exploring relics of old Vancouver and rural British Columbia, along with images of people and places that have my kind of "Vancouver poetry," and artwork from my travel sketchbooks around the world.

An overview with some sample page spreads is here.


42 pages, black and white, 8 x 10 1/2 inches
Published by the Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver, in an edition of 500 copies.
Concept by Maddie Leach, illustrations and interpretations by me.
Free: available from the Contemporary Art Gallery

An unusual foray for me, as a collaborator on a conceptual art project to figuratively lower – that is, to remove a piece from – a historic monument to the explorer and fur trader Simon Fraser. Unusual, too, in that it was a funded project – the participants were paid and the final product, dubbed a bookwork, was distributed for free.

A complete overview is here.



Midtown Press, 2018 (pb)
ISBN 978-1-988242-20-0
Suggested retail: $19.95

132 pages, black and white, 7 5/8 x 10 3/4 inches
Contains supplementary notes, a bibliography and an index.

A novelist, journalist, socialite, botanist, explorer, and World War I ambulance driver, Julia Henshaw was a unique and colourful personality. This graphic biography follows her extraordinary life from Montreal to Vancouver, from the Rocky Mountains to England, and from the mining towns of BC's Kootenays to the battlefields of France and Belgium. Her strongly expressed views of women's roles and voting rights, of racial and class issues, and of Canada's relationship to Great Britain and the USA are an illuminating contrast with the values of her contemporaries, and with society today.

Go here for a preview and some images, plus reviews.

2050: A Post-Apocalyptic Murder Mystery

Midtown Press, 2016 (paperback)
ISBN 978-1-988242-18-7


A graphic novel inspired by the planet's current plight and triggered, to a degree, by a trip to Cuba few years back.

Go here for a preview and some images, plus reviews.

2nd edition 2020
ISBN 978-1-988242-35-4

Midtown Press, 2015 (paperback) ISBN 978-0-9881101-7-5

French edition: Presses de Bras d'Apic, 2015
ISBN 978-2-9812179-7-4

A graphic novel.

Go here for a preview and some images, plus reviews.

(illustations only)

Harbour, 2012 (hardcover)
ISBN 978-1-55017-571-4
About $29.95

My wife Christine Allen's elegiac memoir of our years on the farm, including seasonal recipes, gardening tips, and my watercolours of sheep, chickens, ducks, geese, plants and landscapes.


Whitecap Books, 2012 (paperback) ISBN 978-1-77050-067-9

There's a preview and some of the images here.

Browse the unsold Vanishing Vancouver paintings.

Also an ebook available from the Apple iTunes store.

Reviews and interviews:

•May 18th: interview with Joseph Planta on the

•May 25th: Gordon Price posted his notes from my talk the previous evening on his excellent Price Tags blog.

• June 26th: an insightful review by Sean Ruthen in Spacing Vancouver.

• July 9th: review in Novae Res Urbis, Vancouver edition, reproduced here.

• September 13th: review by Kevin Hollett at

• October 13th: a brief review of the book by John Mackie in a Vancouver Sun article about a Kodachrome talk I was giving, reproduced here.

• From BC Studies, Autumn, 2012: Vancouver in Slices, a review essay of several recent books on Vancouver, by Graeme Wynn: "His writing is lively and straightforward as it engages several 'themes' that he sees as central to understanding change in the 'modest' and 'shabby vernacular' elements of his city ... [He] draws on a mountain of local detail and demonstrates a fine eye for arresting visual juxtapositions as well as a flair for identifying compelling instances and telling anecdotes. He also demonstrates a memorably playful sense of humour in detailing the realms of 'condonauts' and the challenges inherent in a city divided between 'fee-simpletons in their wooden houses' and 'strata-titlers clustered along the transit routes and on the downtown peninsula.' Ultimately, Kluckner is concerned that 'the poetry is seeping away' from his Vancouver, and his book is both an extended paean to what is being lost and a rumination on how best to shape the future... It solidifies Michael Kluckner's reputation as an engaged and reflective citizen, and as an urban thinker who is as deft with his pen as with pigment."

Whitecap Books, 2006 (hardcover), 2011 (paperback)

ISBN 9778-1-55285-811-1

$35 Canadian in softcover, available through regular and on-line bookstores.
Available as an ebook for about $17 through Apple's iTunes store.

A farewell, of sorts, to Vancouver (or so it seemed at the time I was writing it) – a summing up of more than 20 years of writing and painting, focusing on the city in the years between the Second World War and Expo 86 when I was growing up. It spent a month on the BC bestseller list during the 2006 Christmas season.

Winner of the Vancouver Book Prize

Finalist: BC Booksellers Association Award ("the Duthie Prize"), 2007

"...a gentle masterpiece which reveals layers of changing colour and light on Vancouver’s evolving neighbourhoods using the author’s own precise research and beautifully illustrated watercolours." -- jury, Vancouver Book Prize

"Kluckner ... has a feel for the city that I, even 30 years after I began to write about its past, can't begin to approach." -- Chuck Davis, Vancouver Sun, November 25, 2006

Correspondence about Vancouver topics
Mac Parry says ....
Review/interview from The Tyee by Charles Campbell

Ebook: I have seen on an iPad and was very impressed. It is for sale at the Apple bookstore, which you access through the iTunes program. From my point of view, it's a good option for people who don't want to accumulate traditional books and the royalties paid to me are almost the same as what I get from a sale through an independent bookstore (i.e. about 4 times what I get for a sale through a place like Costco).


"The Best of 2005"

Michael Kluckner's Vanishing British Columbia is an illustrated book that lit up this year's spring publishing season. Kluckner, who is renowned for his watercolours and his love of heritage, initiated a dialogue with 450 British Columbians on his website. Then he travelled the province in search of their "roadside memories." With UBC Press as his publisher, Kluckner wasn't obliged to trim his text to make his pictures showier; he got the space to say what he wanted to. The book gives us our province as it was, even as it's changing into something else.

Rebecca Wigod, Vancouver Sun, Dec. 24, 2005


UBC Press/University of Washington Press, 2005
ISBN 0-7748-1125-0

Hardcover with dust jacket: $49.95 Canadian
Published in softcover, 2007: about $40 Canadian

Buy on-line through the UBC Press website or order through your local bookstore.

Hundreds of watercolours, old photographs and postcards, floorplans and other illustrations in a 224-page, 8 1/2 x 11 inch full-colour book.

Hard cover with dustjacket. 1st printing: 2005; 2nd printing: 2005
Softcover edition: 2007

A finalist for the Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize. Also a finalist for the George Ryga Prize.

Read the Vancouver Sun interview and review

Review by B.D. Marsh, University of Texas at Austin, in the Pacific Northwest Quarterly, Spring 2006

A review by Professor Ben Bradley of Queen's University.

A review in Humanities On-Line by Dr. Forrest Pass, University of Waterloo

Browse the Vanishing BC paintings

Go to the Vanishing BC on-line section



Discovering City Heritage

Co-authored with John Atkin

Steller Press, 2003, second edition 2005
ISBN 1-894143-07-8

$16.95 Canadian

28 historic walks ranging from a few blocks to a few kilometres: the book is divided into sections of Downtown, Streetcar Suburbs, Along the Interurban, and North Shore, reflecting the city's historic development along public transit routes.

Out of print.




Raincoast Books, 2000. 6" x 9", 240 pages

ISBN 1-55192-304-1

$19.95 Canadian; $15.95 US

" . . . Hilarious . . . charming without being corny, thoroughly witty and, at times, a little grim." (Brenda Anderson, Langley Times)

"'Farm Noir' might just well be a new phrase, thanks to Kluckner's hobby farm chronicles that combine his straightforward humour with observations and notes on the breeding, birthing and killing of his barnyard buddies . . . . I'd call it Harrowsmith with a grin." (Cherie Thiessen, Monday Magazine.)

"Wit and humour steel this family's courage to take on the land and the rigours of the hobby farm. If the definition of humour is tragedy plus time, then Mr. Kluckner must have waited some time before writing this little gem. A great read especially for those about to embark on a major project." (Rob Kennedy, Cottage magazine)

" . . . simple, real, to the point and genuine. A person completes this book with a feeling similar to that felt after a good, light meal with a glass of wine; satisfied, but not bloated; relaxed, but far from inebriated." (Literary Review of Canada, April 2001)

Out of print; available used through




Canada A Journey of Discovery

Raincoast Books, 1998, 192 pages, 10" x 13"

ISBN 1-55192-204-5 (clothbound), watercolour sketches and text. Designed by Hermani-Sorrentino Design.

Out-of-print! Look through specialty book sites such as abebooks.

"An enjoyable, evocative trip through the swamplands of national memory." - Robert Fulford, from his Foreword.

" . . . an informed and amusing ramble illustrated with sometimes almost abstract watercolours of what surrounds him, from Cape Breton to Ucluelet. . . . We think of watercolours as prettified, but they aren't really. They show more than a snapshot would. Kluckner's paintings are revealing of the small moments of Canadian life. His prose, on the other hand, builds up to a great hymn of pride in this country. It's a convincing narrative. This may be the best book of Canada this year." - Heather Mallick, Toronto Sun.





The Pullet Surprise: A Year on an Urban Farm

Raincoast Books, 1997, 132 pages, 6 1/2" x 10 1/2", text and watercolours

ISBN 1-55192-109-X (cloth)

Winner of Alcuin Prize for Canadian book design, 1998. Designed by Dean Allen.

Finalist for the Roderick Haig-Brown Prize, 1998

Out of print; available used through

"What distinguishes this book is its playfulness. It reads like something from an old Harrowsmith magazine - informed, colourful, whimsical and wise." - Globe & Mail.

"I consider this slim volume must reading for every person who lives on a farm, who has ever lived on a farm, who wants to live on a farm or has any connection in any way with agriculture." - Verna Thompson, Western Producer.





Michael Kluckner's Vancouver

Raincoast, Books, 1996, 128 pages, 9" x 12", watercolours and text

ISBN 1-55192-044-1 (cloth)

Winner of an Alcuin Prize for book design, 1997.

 Out of print; available used through

"His art is so close to the spirit of Vancouver that you almost expect his winter skies to burst into rain before you can turn the page." - John Lekich, Georgia Straight.




British Columbia in Watercolour

1993, 96 pages, 10" x 10", watercolours and text

ISBN 0-9697372-0-3 (paperback)

Personal paintings of favorite Vancouver places, as well as from travels through British Columbia.

Out-of-print! Look through specialty book sites such as abebooks.


Heritage Walks Around Vancouver

1992, 248 pages, 5 1/2" x 8 1/2", text and b/w photographs

ISBN 1-55110-036-3

Co-authored by John Atkin.

Out-of-print! Look through specialty book sites such as abebooks.



Paving Paradise: Is British Columbia Losing Its Heritage?

1991, 224 pages, 6 1/2" x 9 1/2", text and b/w photographs

ISBN 1-895099-90-0

$15 US; $15 Canadian including shipping

Winner of the Hallmark Society (Victoria) Award of Merit, 1992.

A critique, to put it mildly, of recent development trends and attitudes.

Out of print; available used through


Vanishing Vancouver

1990 (2 printings), 208 pages, 10" x 13", text, watercolours, colour and b/w photographs, maps

ISBN 1-895099-24-2


Winner of the Duthie Prize, 1991, and the City of Vancouver Book Prize, 1991.

Out of print. Look through specialty book sites such as abebooks for pre-owned copies.



Toronto The Way It Was

1988 (2 printings), 320 pages, 12" x 10", text, watercolours, colour and b/w photographs, maps. Foreword by Jan Morris.

ISBN 0-921396-02-3

Finalist for the Toronto Book Prize, 1989

Out-of-print! Look through specialty book sites such as abebooks.


Victoria The Way It Was

1986, 160 pages, 12" x 10", text, watercolours, colour and b/w photographs, maps.

ISBN 0-920620-48-5

Out-of-print! Look through specialty book sites such as abebooks.


Vancouver The Way It Was

1984, 240 pages, 12" x 10", text, watercolours, colour and b/w photographs, maps.

Reprinted 1985 (twice), 1986 (red dust jacket). Softcover edition 1988 (with this cover). "Tenth Anniversary edition" (blue dust jacket in  hardcover and new preface) 1993.

Finalist for the Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize, 1985

ISBN 0-920620-56-6

Out-of-print! Look through specialty book sites such as abebooks.

Early Self-Publishing
(before I got serious?)


1982 – a very weird little book of cartoons, its format inspired by the runaway success of "101 Uses for a Dead Cat," which spawned a flood of imitators. The one I remember was "101 Uses for a Dead Real-Estate Agent," following the housing market collapse in 1982. Didn't do well. 5-1/2 x 8 inches, 112 pages.

The original from 1981 on the right; the American version, published in 1982  by 101 Productions in San Francisco on the left. It went through a total of 4 printings in the 2 editions (much of the second printing in Canada was remaindered). Cartoons by me and recipes by Christine Allen, who was then both a vegetarian and my partner – one for cooking the turkey and 11 for leftovers culminating in soup. Inspired by our daughter singing "The 12 Days of Christmas" constantly when she was about six. 6 x 4-1/2 inches, 48 pages.

1981 – I had been writing and producing a campus-orientation book as part of my job at BCIT for a few years, which had expanded to include a quirky city guide. In 1981, the city guide took over; the BCIT student guide became a section at the end of it. Columnist Nicole Parton described it as "a delightful piece of whimsy," which got it off the ground. Back-cover doggerel by Christine Allen. It got me a weekly gig on CKVU-TV, exploring the city through a historical lens, which is what I really wanted to do. When my TV host/onscreen partner Bob Spence left CKVU for radio station CJOR, he took the "Between the Streets" segment and me with him. I used it to help launch Vancouver The Way It Was, my first "serious" book, in 1984.

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