Students studying outside the library

New book from Wofford’s Lane on canoeing to ocean

‘My Paddle to the Sea’ reading, screening of "River Time" tonight (Nov. 28)

John Lane / Photo by Carroll Foster
Wofford professor John Lane writes about his canoe journey from his home in Spartanburg to the Atlantic Ocean in "My Paddle to the Sea," being released Nov. 1.  (Photo by Carroll Foster)

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Acclaimed nature writer and Wofford College associate professor John Lane has released a new book, “My Paddle to the Sea,” about crossing South Carolina by canoe.

Putting in at a creek behind his home near Spartanburg, Lane makes a more than 300-mile trip down the Broad River and across Lake Marion, eventually reaching the Atlantic Ocean by way of the Santee.

Over the course of his long career as a writer, Lane has explored many rivers and recounted his adventures in the outdoors. At the same time, he also has explored questions about his own stake in South Carolina and the South.

“My Paddle to the Sea,” which was released Nov. 1 from the University of Georgia Press, combines both aspects of Lane’s work as he uses his trip from creek to lake to river to coast to meditate on the history and personalities that also share his connection to this waterway.

An unusual aspect of this project for Lane is that he was accompanied part of the time by two filmmakers, Chris Cogan and Tom Byars. Inspired after reading John Lane’s 2007 book “Circling Home,” Cogan decided he wanted to make a film about this author, who writes about a sense of place with keen attention to both history and natural landscapes. When he met with Lane to discuss his idea he learned about the plans for his next book and decided to document the trip.

Cogan and Byars were able to capture much of the canoe journey on film, and their completed work, “River Time,” provides a surprisingly different counterpart to the story told by Lane, full of stunning visual depictions of the river and an outside perspective of Lane and his career as a writer who examines the relationship of humans to the environment.

Three upcoming events, two in Spartanburg and one in Columbia, S.C., will launch the new book and the film. All are free and open to the public.

Monday, Nov. 28 – 7 p.m. – Spartanburg
Joint reading/screening event featuring John Lane and “River Time” filmmaker Chris Cogan
The Showroom, 149 S. Daniel Morgan Ave.

Saturday, Dec. 3 - noon - Greenville
Book Your Lunch, sponsored by Fiction Addition
The Lazy Goat, 170 River Place
$25/person - call 864-675-0540 or go to

Tuesday, Dec. 6 – 7 p.m. – Columbia
Joint reading/screening event featuring John Lane and “River Time” filmmaker Chris Cogan
Nickelodeon Theater, 937 Main St.