Celebrating Patrick Lane

To hear of the loss of any colleague in this close-knit, emotive industry is always affecting. Sometimes, a writer leaving us strikes deeper, stirring a profound sadness from all corners of literature, and reminding us of the precious, precocious nature of life just as their work did.

Patrick Lane is such a writer.

The Vancouver Writers Fest shares our condolences to the family of Patrick Lane: teacher, poet, memoirist and novelist, who passed away on March 7 at 79 years old.

One of Canada’s most renowned writers, Lane’s accolades reflect the remarkable impact his work had on readers—and his approach had on students. Accolades include the Governor-General’s Award for Poetry, the Canadian Authors Association Award, three National Magazine Awards, and office of the Order of Canada.

His work includes 25 volumes of poetry, fiction and non-fiction.

“Patrick Lane was a writer of empathy and grace. His work has the ability to connect its readers to the most succinct notion of what it is to be human and exist in this natural world. We look forward to paying tribute to Patrick and his expansive work at our fall Festival,” said Leslie Hurtig, Artistic Director of the Vancouver Writers Fest.

Lane was a friend of the Festival, often gracing our stages and contributing to the tapestry of our community.

“Over the 30+ years of the VWF we were fortunate to have Patrick attend on many occasions. He was always engaging, generous and often took delight in stirring the pot. Our celebration of him and his writing, hosted by Brian Brett and featuring Margaret Atwood amongst others, was one of the most moving events in the history of the festival,” said Hal Wake, former Artistic Director who invited Lane to many Festivals during his tenure.

We are left with an extraordinary body of work to explore and take solace from. As Lane himself reminds us, “What I promise each of you is that there will come a day or night, a morning or evening when something as rare and fine as a blue sapphire butterfly will fall into your hands from a cold sky, a fearful child will climb into your bed and cleave to you, a woman or man will weep, will laugh, will sleep with you in the sure belief that the one they abide with is governed by a good and honest love. No matter the degrees you have earned and the knowledge you have accumulated, remember to believe in yourselves, to believe in each other. In a world as fearful as our present one I ask that you not be afraid. Today is merely an hour. Remember in the time ahead of you to hold out your hands so that beauty may fall safely into them and find a place – however briefly – to rest.”

We pay tribute to Patrick Lane (1939 – 2019) and send our heartfelt wishes to his wife,
Lorna Crozier—partners for 41 years—and his family.


Zoe Grams