Ivan Doig dies at 75; writer captured the American West

Ivan Doig, a former ranch hand who became a beloved writer of the American West, dies at 75

Ivan Doig, an award-winning author whose books set in his native Montana made him one of the most respected writers of the American West, has died. He was 75.

Geoff Kloske, the publisher of Riverhead Books, said in a statement that Doig died Thursday of multiple myeloma at his Seattle home.

"Ivan was one of the greats," Kloske said. "We have lost a friend, a beloved author, a national treasure."

Doig was born in 1939 in White Sulphur Springs, Mont. The former ranch hand earned bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism from Northwestern University and a doctorate in history from the University of Washington.

He wrote 16 books, including the so-called McCaskill trilogy, three novels about a fictional Montana family covering the first 100 years of state history. His 1979 memoir, "This House of Sky," was a finalist for the National Book Award.

In 2007, Doig won the Wallace Stegner Award, which recognizes someone who has "made a sustained contribution to the cultural identity of the West." He was also the recipient of the Western Literature Assn.'s lifetime Distinguished Achievement award.

His publisher said that two of Doig's later works, "The Bartender's Tale," released in 2012, and the yet-to-be published "Last Bus to Wisdom," were inspired by experiences from Doig's youth. But the author also made it clear that his novels were fiction.

His writing gained him many admirers. The Australian author Thomas Keneally said Doig was "one of the great American voices, full of grace, abounding in humanity, easeful in narration, hypnotic in pace, grand in range."

Doig is survived by his wife, Carol.

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