To me, language—the substance on the page, that poetry under the prose—is the ultimate ‘region,’ the true home, for a writer.” – Ivan Doig
The winner of the 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award is Ivan Doig. Mr. Doig’s knowledge of the history and characters of the American West have brought those times and places to life for readers everywhere. He is a true wordsmith, and his amazing accomplishments in writing are definitely deserving of the Willamette Writers’ Lifetime Achievement Award for 2014.
From a recent Riverhead Books press release about his newest novel:
SWEET THUNDER (Riverhead Books, On-Sale August 20, 2013), the latest from Indie bookseller favorite Ivan Doig, reprises perhaps his most beloved character of all time and takes on a brand-new theme—the power of the press in an era of intense corporate greed and social unrest.
With fifteen books published since his debut in 1978, Doig has solidified his place as a national treasure and one of the most celebrated writers of the American West. From his first book, the National Book Award finalist This House of Sky, Doig has made a unique—and uniquely successful—contribution to American literature. Last year’s The Bartender’s Tale, published when he was 70, landed him for the first time on the New York Times bestseller list, garnering exceptional reviews across the board, and, in the best-of-2012 flurry, a Washington Post pick for Best Fiction, a Booklist Editors’ Choice, and more.
Now in this spectacular new novel, it’s 1919 and Morrie Morgan, who debuted in Doig’s 2006 The Whistling Season and returned in 2011’s Work Song, finds himself back in Butte, Montana, as the chief editorialist for the Thunder, the upstart newspaper brave enough to challenge the ruthless Anaconda Company and its stranglehold on the copper boomtown. Doig thrusts his protagonist into a world of corporate intimidation and union politics, gangsters and bootlegging, offering the suspense and intrigue of a Gilded Age tale set largely against the backdrop of the old-fashioned newsroom.
Dramatically arresting and episodically entertaining, SWEET THUNDER is a love song to newspapers and the countless writers, reporters, and editors who bring them to life each day, and to the readers who see the world through them, both in their old-fashioned print version and in their new-fangled digital form.
A third-generation Montanan, Ivan Doig grew up along the Rocky Mountain Front, the dramatic landscape that has inspired much of his writing. A former ranch hand, newspaperman, and magazine editor, with a Ph.D. in history to boot, Doig is the author of fifteen previous novels, most recently The Bartender’s Tale, and three works of nonfiction, including his classic first book, This House of Sky. He has been a National Book Award finalist and has received the Wallace Stegner Award, a Distinguished Achievement Award from the Western Literature Association, and multiple PBNA Awards, among others.
The winners of the Annual Awards are chosen by the Willamette Writers Board each spring.