Remembering Ivan

“If I have any creed that I wish you as readers, necessary accomplices in this flirtatious ceremony of writing and reading, will take with you from my pages, it’d be this belief of mine that writers of caliber can ground their work in specific land and lingo and yet be writing of that larger country: life”

Ivan Doig, the award-winning and beloved author of sixteen books, died at his Seattle home in the early morning hours of Thursday, April 9, 2015, of multiple myeloma. During the eight years of his illness, he wrote his four final novels, including Last Bus to Wisdom, which was inspired by a cross-country trip he took as a boy in the summer of ’51, and will be published on August 18, 2015 by Riverhead Books.

Ivan believed that ordinary people deserve to have their stories told, and he did that in fact and fiction, beginning with This House of Sky, a memoir of his own upbringing in Montana; it attracted a wide readership and was a finalist for the National Book Award. He later wrote a second memoir and another book of nonfiction, but it is for his novels that he became enduringly read. The Two Medicine Country, an imagined region based upon the Montana landscape where he came of age, is the setting for the majority of his novels, including the so-called McCaskill trilogy (English Creek, Dancing at the Rascal Fair, and Ride with Me, Mariah Montana) and the New York Times-bestselling The Whistling Season, which debuted a favorite character, the itinerant charmer Morrie Morgan.

Ivan’s work earned him comparisons to Wallace Stegner, from whom he inherited the informal title “dean of Western Writers.” Indeed, the Center for the American West awarded Ivan the prestigious Wallace Stegner Award in 2007, and he was the recipient of the Western Literature Association’s lifetime Distinguished Achievement award. He is the recipient of more awards from the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association than any other writer, among numerous other honors. 

Ivan is survived by his wife, Carol, his partner in crime in researching and editing his books and a longtime professor of journalism.

The Ivan Doig Archive offers access to original manuscripts, an unfinished novel, private diaries, personal interviews, correspondence, handwritten letters and notes, memorabilia, and thousands of images including family albums, travel, and research photographs as well as documentation kept by Ivan detailing his battle with multiple myeloma.

Select Obituaries and Tributes:
The New York Times 
The Los Angeles Times
Seattle Times
Seattle Times: An appreciation
The Washington Post
Kirkus Reviews 
The Missoulian

More about Ivan’s Life:

Video Interview