Patrick Lane was born in Nelson, British Columbia, Canada, in 1939. He had no formal education beyond high school in Vernon, BC. From 1957 to 1968 with his young wife, Mary, he raised three children and began working at a variety of jobs, from common labourer, truck driver, cat skinner, chokerman, boxcar loader, industrial first-aid man 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.
After his divorce in 1968, he spent much of his time as an itinerant poet, wandering over three continents and many countries. He began writing with serious intent in 1960, practising his craft late at night in small-town western Canada until he moved to Vancouver in early 1965 to work and to join the 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, publishing the new post-war generation of poets. In 1968, he decided to devote his life exclusively to writing, travelling to South America where he lived for two years. On his return, he married again and had two more children. They settled first in the Okanagan Valley in 1972 and then on the west coast of Canada at Middle Point near the fishing village of Pender Harbour on the Sunshine Coast, where he worked as a carpenter and building contractor.
In 1978, he divorced again and went to work as 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, The 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 and leads private writing retreats as well as teaching at such schools as The Banff Writing Workshops, 'Booming Ground' at the University of British Columbia, the Victoria Writing School, and the Sage Hill Experience in Saskatchewan. He and Lorna Crozier presently reside in a small community outside Victoria where he gardens and works at his craft.
His poetry, short stories, criticism, and non-fiction have won many prizes over the past forty-five years. These include the Governor General's Award, the Canadian Authors Association Award, a 'Nellie' award (Canada, 1987), and the National Radio Award (USA) for the best public radio programme. Most recently, he won the 2005 BC Award for Canadian non-fiction, one of Canada's newest and most prestigious literary prizes, for his autobiography There is a Season. He has received major awards from the Canada Council, the Ontario Arts Council, the Saskatchewan Arts Board, the Manitoba Arts Board, the Ontario Arts Council, and the British Columbia Arts Board. He has also received National Magazine awards for both his poetry and his fiction.
Author of more than twenty books and called by many writers and critics "the best poet of his generation" he has appeared at literary festivals around the world and has read and published his work in many countries including England, France, the Czech Republic, Italy, China, Japan, Chile, Colombia, the Netherlands, and Russia. His poetry and fiction appear in all major Canadian anthologies of English literature.