Written by Cory Chandler
John Lane, writer, artist, educator and expert kayaker, teaches creative writing and
environmental literature at Wofford College in South Carolina.
The Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library
(SWC/SCL) has acquired the literary papers of Southern author John Lane.
The archive, part of the James Sowell Family Collection in Literature, Community
and the Natural World, will include manuscripts, journals, book drafts, personal
memorabilia, photographs and hundreds of letters from leading contemporary literary
figures such as former U.S. poet laureate Donald Hall and fellow Sowell Collection
writers Barry Lopez and Rick Bass.
It should be cataloged and available to researchers in 2009.
“John Lane’s papers provide rich connections to the literature of the American South,”
said SWC/SCL deputy director William Tydeman.
“His books transcend any narrow definitions of regionalism, and these materials help
affirm the importance of the Sowell Collection in the scholarship of writing specific
Lane currently teaches creative writing and environmental literature at Wofford College
in Spartanburg, S.C. He is one of the founders of a publishing company, an artist
residency and the Spartanburg Hub City Writers Project
as well as a project to develop an environmental studies center from an historic
textile mill office in Spartanburg County.
Lane also was instrumental in founding The Southern Nature Project
, a group of environmental writers with Southern roots and allegiances including
Dorinda Dallmeyer, Janisse Ray, Christopher Camuto, Bill Belleville, Franklin Burroughs,
Jan DeBlieu, Thomas Rain Crowe, Ann Fisher-Wirth and the late James Kilgo.
Lane’s books include “Waist Deep in Black Water,” “The Woods Stretched for Miles,”
and “Chattooga,” inspired by one of the only major freely flowing southern Appalachian
rivers and the setting for James Dickey’s novel, “Deliverance,” which inspired the
film of the same name. His writing also has been published in journals including Southern
Review, Orion and American Whitewater. For the past three years, Lane has written
an environmental column called “The Kudzu Telegraph”
for the Spartanburg Journal.
An avid kayaker and hiker, his most recent book, titled “Circling Home,” celebrates
the area within a mile radius of the environmentally friendly house Lane and his wife
recently built after returning to his hometown. He discovers that the area, traced
with a saucer on a topographic map, contains an archaeological site dating back eight
thousand years, the graves of British soldiers killed in the Revolutionary War, a
sewage treatment facility and the ruins of cotton plantations that abut modern residential
developments such as a country club.
Story produced by the Office of Communications and Marketing
, (806) 742-2136. Photos Courtesy John Lane