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Hal Crowther, a former columnist and film and drama critic for the Buffalo News, staff writer for Time and media critic for Newsweek, has filed his trademark personal essays on culture, natural history, politics and breaking events from every continent except Australia and Antarctica. He published a comprehensive series of essays on the Soviet Union in 1985 and in 1989 covered the fall of the Iron Curtain from Budapest, Prague and Berlin, where he took his turn swinging a sledgehammer at the Berlin Wall. Essays on personal adventures, published in several of his books, include accounts of tracking Darwin in the Galapagos, riding the high rails in the Andes, fishing for Alaskan grayling north of the Arctic Circle, backpacking in the mountains of Big Bend and Mexico, covering civil war and white hunters in Africa, rafting whitewater rivers in Idaho and sailing the North Atlantic and the Gulf of St. Lawrence with a crew of writers and scholars.
Crowther's current collection of essays, "Gather at the River," a National Book Award nominee, will be published by LSU in September. For his first collection, "Unarmed But Dangerous," he was cited by Kirkpatrick Sale as "the best essayist working in journalism today." "Cathedrals of Kudzu," published in 2000, has been of the New South's most honored and critically acclaimed works of non-fiction. It received the Lillian Smith Book Award from the Southern Regional Council, the 1999-2001 Fellowship Prize for Non-Fiction from the Fellowship of Southern Writers and the 2001 Book of the Year award for essays from Foreword Magazine. The Southern Book Critics Circle also chose "Cathedrals" as a finalist for the Southern Book Award in non-fiction.
Hal Crowther was born March 26, 1945, in Halifax, N.S., the son of an American naval officer. He is a graduate of Williams College (B.A., English) and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, Class of 1967. He launched his syndicated column in the Spectator of Raleigh, North Carolina, where he was executive editor from 1984 to 1989. The column originated in The Independent Weekly when it won the Baltimore Sun's H.L. Mencken Writing Award, the first weekly column honored. In 1998 it won another national award, the AAN (American Association of Newsweeklies) first prize for commentary, shared with Nat Hentoff of the Village Voice. In 2000 Crowther received a career prize, the Russell J. Jandoli Award for Excellence in Journalism from St. Bonaventure University. For "Dealer's Choice," his column on southern letters and culture in the Oxford American, Crowther was a 2002 finalist for the National Magazine Award in commentary. He is a regular contributor to the book pages of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and writes featured political columns for The Progressive Populist of Austin, Texas. He has screen credits for a number of film and television scripts; his works in progress include another collection, "Remember Me," and a book-length essay on innocence "Babe in the Woods."
Crowther has one daughter, Amity, and one stepson, and lives in Hillsborough, North Carolina with his wife, the novelist Lee Smith. Hal last appeared at the Key West Literary Seminar in 2002. We're delighted to have him back.
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