to Patrick Lane read
“Wild Horses”

to an interview
with Patrick on
The Next Chapter

with Shelagh Rogers,
CBC Radio One, which
aired in January, 2012.


and Events


October 18–28, 2018
International Festival of Authors

Harbourfront Centre

February 20, 2018, 7:30pm
Munro's Books

1108 Government Street, Victoria
Launch and author reading for Deep River Night

and Events

September 29, 2017, 7:30pm
Victoria Festival of Authors

Metro Theatre, Victoria
A Life of Words: The Legacy of Lorna Crozier & Patrick Lane

April 8, 2017, 8pm
Our Canada with the Victoria Symphony
Celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday with a concert exploring our country’s rich literary community and connection to music.
Alix Goolden Hall 

April 6, 2017, 7pm

A Pavilion of Blossoms: Poets Respond to Spring

Art Gallery of Victoria

and Events

May 27, 2016: Honorary Doctorate from University of Northern British Columbia, Prince George

Patrick Lane will receive an honorary doctorate from UNBC.

January 28, 2016: Honorary Doctorate from Vancouver Island University, Nanaimo
Patrick Lane will receive an honorary doctorate from Vancouver Island University. 2:30pm

and Events

October 13–18
Wordfest in Calgary

With Lorna Crozier and more than 70 other artists.

June 1, 2015: Honorary Doctorate from McGill University, Montreal
Patrick Lane and Lorna Crozier will both receive honorary doctorates from McGill.

May 1–3
Hubbards Writers Festival with Lorna Crozier

April 21
An Evening of Poetry with Lorna Crozier and Patrick Lane
St. Stephen's Church, 7921 St Stephens Rd, Saanichton

March 24–29
A World of Poetry in Ottawa
(with Lorna Crozier)

February 13
Sidney Literary Festival
7:00 pm
The Red Brick Café, 2423 Beacon Ave., Sidney
(with Lorna Crozier)





and Events

January 9–12
Honeymoon Bay Writing Retreat

April 25–27
BC Writers Federation Annual General Meeting
Victoria, BC
with Lorna Crozier

May 15–18
Skagit River Poetry Festival
La Conner, Washington
Winner of Ennis Award

July 17–20
Honeymoon Bay Retreat

November 2
launches at Open Space in Victoria

November 13–16
Honeymoon Bay Writing Retreat

November 22, 2014
Order of Canada
Investiture Ceremony

Ottawa. For a live webcast vist at 10:30 EST


Madam Chancellor, President, distinguished guests, faculty, families and friends, it is an honour to address you today as this new generation of graduates receives their degrees and, by doing so, begins a new world. 

On an early morning just before Christmas back in 2000 I walked across a parking lot at an addiction treatment centre here in Nanaimo not far from this University, stopped, looked up at the the last stars and said, “I quit.” At that moment I began a new life, leaving behind me fifty years of alcohol and drugs. I was then and still am an alcoholic even though I haven’t had a drink these past sixteen years. A month after I was released I wrote a brief afterword to a collection of essays on addiction. It describes a few moments by a Christmas tree one December night at the treatment centre. I read the piece to you now because the girl I describe at the end of the essay died six months later of an overdose, her body found in a shabby room in East End Vancouver:

"The world calls us drunks and addicts. The doctors call us chemically dependent. The counsellors tell us we have a disease. What we call ourselves is mostly unspeakable. The woman next to me, a sweet nineteen-year-old, is an anorexic heroin addict who has been hooking on the street since she was thirteen. Beside her is a young man who started dealing crack cocaine and amphetamines in grade eight to pay for his habit. He was on the street a few years later, selling his body for a hundred or fifty or sometimes twenty quick bucks and beaten too a hundred times in rooms and alleys.

Tonight we are all standing around a twenty-foot Christmas tree singing carols, something we didn't do when we were lying in our lonely rooms with a bottle, a pipe, or a needle. We’re here for seven or eight weeks or longer. Some of us will stay for a year or more. We're singing Christmas carols as loud as we can and drinking pop or water, coffee or tea, as we stare at the tree, that old pagan image of the solstice. Some of us will be dead in six weeks or six months and some of us will live a while longer. It's Christmas in treatment and the only family we have is us, our shared disease, this addiction that has driven us past despair to a place of compassion and confrontation. 

We sing Jingle Bells and follow it with the First Noel. Most of us have lived on the street at one time or another, but here, in this season of apprehended joy, there is just a hope there might be something more than what we've got. Around us are the whispers of the past, families and loved ones, some of whom still care and some who can’t anymore. But the season here isn’t sad. We're too frightened to be sad, too frightened to be lonely.

We sing as hard as we can. The tree glistens with lights. There is a strange, surreal happiness in the room. It is a time for song and no one thinks of the night to come, the stunned tears in the dark, the fear that moves hidden among us. A young woman hiding behind a post sings softly, shyly, with her eyes half closed. She is someone's daughter, someone's lover. I would take her hand if I could. I would tell her everything will be alright. But I can't do that. The odds are things won’t be okay ever again. She's only a step away from a room of bottles, crack pipes and seizures, or wrapped around a toilet with a needle hanging from her arm. She's only a step away from being clean, too, but that's a big step, and I don't know if she'll take it.

It's Christmas. There is a tree and many lights and people singing. Some of us will make it, some of us won't, but we sing our hearts out anyway. We sing as hard as we can."

What I have given you is a story from my life for where else but from a life can a story come? And what has this to do with a day of celebration, a day when you receive your degrees after years of hard work? What I promise you is that a day or night will come when you will be faced with a struggle for your life. It can be a struggle much like my own or it can take a different form. What matters is that it will come and when it does you will have to make a choice between a life and a death, your own or another’s. What I want to ask of you is courage. I want you to act upon the humility and compassion you share with all living things, whether it be for a refugee child drowning off the coast of Lesbos in Greece, or a grizzly bear having its head and paws chopped off with an axe by a trophy hunter in the Great Bear Rainforest. 

No matter the honours you have earned and the knowledge you have accumulated, a day will come when much will be asked of you and when it does I want you to believe in yourselves, to believe in each other. You are a generation who have earned your chance at a new life in a damaged world. Today you receive your degrees. It is a moment of immense change for each of you, a moment to be proud of, for your families to be proud of. But today is merely an hour. I ask that you never be afraid for a time may come when you will have to sing your hearts out, and when that happens I want you to sing as hard as you can.