Patrick Lane was born in Nelson, British Columbia, Canada, in 1939. He has no formal education beyond high school which he attended in Vernon, B.C. From 1957 to 1968 he worked at a variety of jobs, from common labourer, truck driver, boxcar loader in the northern bush, to clerk at a number of sawmills in the interior of British Columbia. He has been a salesman, office manager, and an industrial accountant. Much of his life after 1968 has been spent as an itinerant poet, wandering over three continents and many countries. He began writing with serious intent in 1960, and moved to Vancouver in early 1965 to work and to join a new generation of artists and writers who were coming of age in the early Sixties. In 1966, with bill bissett and Seymour Mayne, he established Very Stone House, a partnership devoted to publishing a new post-war generation of poets. In 1968, he decided to devote his life exclusively to writing, and he went to South America where he lived for two years.
In 1978, he became Writer-in-Residence at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg where he began his life with the poet, Lorna Crozier. Since then, he has been a resident writer at Concordia University in Montreal, University of Alberta in Edmonton, the Saskatoon Public Library, and the University of Toronto. He taught English Literature at The University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon from 1986 to 1990, and Creative Writing at the University of Victoria, British Columbia from 1991 to 2004. He is presently retired from institutional teaching, however he leads courses at the Banff Writing Workshops, the University of British Columbia, and Sage Hill in Saskatchewan.
His writing has won many prizes over the past forty-five years, including a Governor-General’s Award for Poems: New & Selected in 1979 and a Canadian Authors Association Award for his Selected Poems in 1988. He has received major awards from the Canada Council and arts boards and councils in Ontario, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and British Columbia. He has received National Magazine awards for both his poetry and his fiction. He is the author of more than twenty books. His most recent publications are Go Leaving Strange, a collection of poetry from 2005 that was nominated for the Dorothy Livesay Prize and Red Dog, Red Dog, a novel published in 2008.