Ivan Doig

Ivan Doig (June 27, 1939 April 9, 2015) was an American author and novelist, widely known for his sixteen fiction and non-fiction books set mostly in his native Montana, celebrating the landscape and people of the post-war American West.

With settings ranging from the Rocky Mountain Front to Alaska’s coast, Puget Sound and Oregon, the Chicago Tribune noted in 1987 that Doig wrote of “immigrant families, dedicated schoolteachers, miners, fur trappers, town builders” and of “the uncertainties of friendship and love, and colossal battles of will, set amid the vast unpredictabilities of a land noted for sudden deadly floods, agonizing droughts, blizzards and forest fires.” Doig himself would later say “I come from the lariat proletariat, the working-class point of view.” In particular, Doig “believed that ordinary people deserve to have their stories told” This House of Sky: Landscapes of a Western Mind, Doig’s 1977 memoir, was finalist for the National Book Award for Contemporary Thought. In 2007 Doig won the University of Colorado’s Center of the American West’s Wallace Stegner Award. Doig’s 2006 novel The Whistling Season became a New York Times best-seller. He won the Western Literature Association’s lifetime Distinguished Achievement award and held the distinction of the only living author with works of both fiction and non-fiction listed in the top 12 of the San Francisco Chronicle poll of best books of the 20th century.In 2006, Sven Birkerts described Doig as “a presiding figure in the literature of the American West.”

I don’t think of myself as a ‘Western’ writer”. To me, languagethe substance on the page, that poetry under the proseis the ultimate ‘region,’ the true home, for a writer.

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.


Works by Ivan Doig: