“There is more time than there is expanse of the world
and so any voyage at last will end.”
–Ivan Doig, This House of Sky
Ivan Doig, beloved author, passed away April 9, 2015. His loss is felt deeply throughout the literary community and beyond. We collect some memories here. Our thoughts and condolences go out to his friends and family.
In Memoriam, Ivan Doig (1939–2015)
University Book Store is saddened to hear of the passing of Ivan Doig, the critically acclaimed author and a loyal friend and customer to the store, at age 75. His accolades included the prestigious Wallace Stegner Award in 2007, the Western Literature Association’s lifetime Distinguished Achievement award, and he was the recipient of more awards from the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association than any other writer. During the past 8 years, he was afflicted with multiple myeloma, a cancer of the plasma cells, but also managed to write four well-received novels—Work Song, The Bartender’s Tale, Sweet Thunder, and Last Bus to Wisdom, which is forthcoming from Riverhead Books this August.
“The spaces between stars are where the work of the universe is done.”
University Book Store, Seattle
As all of you know, Ivan was an amazing person and an amazing writer, truly one of the most beautiful writers I have ever read. Over the past 17 years, my wife and I were fortunate enough to get to know Ivan and Carol very well. He was generous, funny, profane, and thoughtful. He cared deeply about the world and about his friends. He was always a pleasure to be around, always incredibly supportive, and genuinely a nice guy. I will miss him dearly and feel blessed to have known him. —David B. Williams, author
A masterful storyteller, a champion of the West and its particularities. Thank you Ivan Doig for your time and good work on this earth. RIP. —Jennie Shortridge, author
Sad day for many readers. I’ve attached a photo of the counter display I put up this morning after getting the news.
Comments heard from customers overall: “Oh, No! When? Today?” “I love Ivan Doig’s books.” “How sad to lose an author of his magnitude.” “He will be missed.”
Missed for sure. —Janis Segress, Queen Anne Book Company
I once did a reading at a bookstore where Ivan Doig was scheduled to read later the same day. There was a sea of empty chairs arranged in a semicircle before the podium. I filled six. About a year later, I had the opportunity to actually attend one of his readings and immediately understood the need for all those chairs. And, even then, there weren’t enough. —Lance Weller, author
—René Kirkpatrick, Eagle Harbor Book Co., Bainbridge Island
He was a good neighbor. He’d sometimes bring a pair of clippers in a holster on walks to clip encroaching blackberry vines…
I’d been wondering why I hadn’t seen him recently. He and Carol used to march past our house around seven every morning on their regular constitutional, Ivan always a few strides ahead. I called it the Doig Expedition. My wife saw Carol, sans Ivan, a couple of weeks ago, and asked her something like, “Where’s the other half?” Carol replied, “Oh, he’s working on a novel, like always.” —Bob Harrison, book sales rep
Ivan’s passing is a tremendous loss for the NW literary community. In addition to being a brilliant story-weaver, Ivan was a big-hearted, good guy: for years after my father died, my mother joined Ivan and Carol for their neighborhood walks, so I will forever associate him with the neighborhood in which I grew up. I’m sure readers and writers throughout the Northwest join me in extending my deepest condolences and sincerest love to Carol and the rest of the Doig family. —Garth Stein, author
In addition, here’s how another friend and fellow author paid tribute to his mentor in an essay for NWBookLovers last year. Read David Laskin’s “The Voice in My Head: Ivan Doig as Neighbor, Friend, and Mentor.”
4 responses to “In Memoriam: Ivan Doig (1939- 2015)”
One of my all time favorite authors- Ivan Doig will be missed. We were fortunate to have him as our Whidbey Reads author about 10 years ago. He was a class act to work and generous to all who attended his presentation. Condolences to his family. Sincerely, Leslie Franzen, Branch Manager/Coupeville Library.
Ivan Doig’s works will live on, of course, but as a Montanan who left for Seattle, then Eastern Washington, and an avid reader and fan if his, I cannot imagine this world without him. A sad, sad day for all of us; what a loss. My husband Larry counted him as his favorite author, and was just rereading one of his books last evening. We both admired him greatly, and felt he honored both Montana and Washington. What a way with words; he could turn a phrase in such a way that led me to retread passages repeatedly. Sharon Clinton
I offer a tribute to Ivan Doig posted on my blog yesterday. http://arepreading.tumblr.com/post/116040724151/doig.
Thank you PNBA for providing this online wake for Ivan. It’s comforting to read others’ warm words for an author, and friend, whom we were so lucky to have known. My last event at Third Place Books was introducing Ivan for Work Song (to a packed house, of course). I had told him I was moving, and he began his reading with a generous thank-you to me and to “all the independent booksellers.” He was a true gentleman.