Key West Literary Seminar
"SPIRIT OF PLACE: American Literary Landscapes"

January 10-13, 2002

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Panelist - Hal Crowther

Hal Crowther
Hal Crowther

HAL CROWTHER was born in 1945 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, of Southern-American parents. He is a graduate of Williams College (BA, English) and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism (1967). He was a media columnist and a film and drama critic for the Buffalo News, staff writer at Time and associate editor at Newsweek, where he served as television critic and editor of the Media section. He was also a columnist on film and media for The Humanist and Free Inquiry magazines and a regular contributor to the book pages of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

In 1981 he began writing his syndicated column for Spectator, where he was executive editor from 1986 - 1989. During the '90s the column originated in The Independent Weekly of Durham. In 1992, it received the Baltimore Sun's H.L. Mencken Writing Award, the first weekly column so honored. Along with their decision, the judges delivered the following commentary: "Like Mencken, Hal Crowther has the narrowed pupil of a sharpshooter, the hairy ear of a heavy artilleryman, and the ballistic rifling of an implacable anathematist. Mr. Crowther steadies his weapon of choice; he draws a bead; blam! And one more target is left trying to wipe off the splatter of his true and accurate words." 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.

"Dealer's Choice," Crowther's column on southern letters and culture, has been featured in The Oxford American since 1994. He also writers a column for The Progressive Populist, out of Austin, Texas. A collection of his essays--Unarmed But Dangerous, with a foreword by Annie Dillard--was published in June 1995 by Longstreet Press. His current collection, Cathedrals of Kudzu, A Personal Landscape of the South--foreword by Fred Hobson--was published last fall by LSU Press. Nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, Cathedrals received the 1999-2001 Fellowship Prize for Non-Fiction from the Fellowship of Southern Writers and the 2001 first prize for essays from Foreword Magazine, which named it a finalist for Book of the Year. In 2000 Crowther received the Russell J. Jandoli Award for Excellence in Journalism from St. Bonaventure University. His essays have been published in many anthologies, most recently Novello: Ten Years of Great American Writing (2000), Books of Passage (1997), Close to Home (1996), Cast a Cold Eye (1991), and the language arts textbook Textures (1993). He has several screen credits for film and television scripts, and his radio commentaries have been carried on WKBW in Buffalo, WPTF in Raleigh, and on NPR's "Soundings" program from the National Humanities Center.

Crowther has one daughter, Amity, and two stepsons, and lives in an ante-bellum house in Hillsborough, North Carolina, with his wife and fellow panelist, Lee Smith.

Bibliography:
Cathedrals of Kudzu: A Personal Landscape of the South, LSU Press, 2000
Unarmed But Dangerous, Longstreet Press, 1995

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January 10-13, 2002 Seminar
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