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Darrell Laurant

Darrell Laurant spent 41 years in journalism as a newspaper reporter, editor and columnist. During his long affiliation with the News Advance, a medium-sized daily in central Virginia, he not only covered every imaginable local story but also two national political conventions, an NCAA basketball Final Four, the inauguration of Bill Clinton, the Miss America pageant, the aftermath of Hurricane Hugo in South Carolina and a contentious Southwest Virginia coal strike.

Prior to moving to Lynchburg, he was a sportswriter with the News & Courier in Charleston, S.C. and the co-founder and editor of South Carolina Sport magazine.

In 1984, Laurant talked his editors into allowing him to drive from Lynchburg to San Francisco to cover the Democratic National Convention in San Francisco. He took his family along and sent back columns throughout the trip. He also spent 10 days in Guatemala in 1993, following a Lynchburg nurse who was working with medical clinics in remote areas.

In 2005, Laurant's investigative piece on a corrupt election official earned him the D.Tennant Bryan Award for best local story in the Media General chain of more than 30 newspapers.

Multiple award winner

The recipient of more than 35 awards from the Virginia Press Association, Laurant also published two non-fiction books while with the News & Advance – Even Here, about a series of "outsider" murders in Bedford County, Virginia and A City Unto Itself: Lynchburg, Virginia in the 20th Century.

As a freelancer, he has written more than 150 articles for dozens of websites and magazines, including most recently America's Civil War Magazine and Blue Ridge Country.

Laurant's first novel, The Kudzu Kid, was published in October 2014. Naturally, it has a newspaper theme.

A native of Sanford, N.C., Laurant grew up in Syracuse, N.Y. and graduated from Belmont Abbey (N.C.) College with a degree in history. He and his wife currently live in Lake George, N.Y., and have two children and four grandchildren.

Now busier than ever post-newspaper, Laurant's latest project is Snowflakes in a Blizzard
(snowflakesarise.wordpress.com) , a new, different and free marketing service for book authors. In its first three months, it attracted more than 3,500 Internet page views and featured more than 40 authors.

An advocate of mentoring upcoming writers, Laurant also founded The Writers' Bridge, a project to help freelancers with ideas and contacts for magazine articles. During his time in Lynchburg, he taught journalism and creative writing classes at several local colleges.

Laurant is always interested in talking about writing, and welcomes contacts at writersbridge@hotmail.com

There were big headlines aplenty in 1971: Richard Nixon taking the U.S. dollar off the gold standard and announcing he would be the first U.S. president to visit the People’s Republic of China; Joe Frazier beating Muhammad Ali in one of the greatest heavyweight boxing championships of all time; and the New York Times publishing the first installment of the classified Pentagon Papers. Flying under the radar that year was the election of a big, raw-boned cop as mayor of Lake George, N.Y. Robert Blais, seen in a 1957 photo (above) early in his police career, is still going strong as mayor of that Adirondack town, burnishing its reputation as one of the premier tourist meccas in America.

[How a journalist found his way back to Lake George: See February 11, 2016 Notes From The Editor.]
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