US assembly: distinguished writer Brian Doyle

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Fri, 10/19/2012 - 11:30am - 12:30pm
Cabell Center Theater

Brian Doyle returns to Catlin Gabel as a Jean Vollum Distinguished Writer. His first novel, Mink River, was this year's summer reading assignment for Upper School students and teachers. Doyle is an award-winning author, essayist, and editor of the University of Portland's PortlandMagazine, will read from his work. If his last appearance on the Cabell Center stage is any indication, Doyle will captivate the audience with his pace, wit, and sharp observations about people. 

Brian Doyle's self portrait in words and image

Brian Doyle…
… is a hirsute shambling shuffling mumbling grumbling muttering muddled maundering meandering male being who edits Portland Magazine at the University of Portland, in Oregon – the best university magazine in America, according to Newsweek, and “the best spiritual magazine in the country,” according to author Annie Dillard, clearly a woman of surpassing taste and discernment.

Doyle is the author of thirteen books: six collections of essays, two nonfiction books (The Grail, about a year in an Oregon vineyard, and The Wet Engine, about the “muddles & musics of the heart”), two collections of “proems,” most recently Thirsty for the Joy: Australian & American Voices (published in Australia), the short story collection Bin Laden’s Bald Spot, the novella Cat’s Foot, and the sprawling novel Mink River (Oregon State University Press). He is also the editor of several anthologies, most recently Ho`olaule`a, a collection of writing about the Pacific islands.

Doyle’s books have five times been finalists for the Oregon Book Award, and his essays have appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, Harper’s, Orion, The American Scholar, The Sun, The Georgia Review, and in newspapers and magazines around the world, including The New York Times, The Times of London, and The Age (in Australia). His essays have also been reprinted in the annual Best American Essays, Best American Science & Nature Writing, and Best American Spiritual Writing anthologies. Among various honors for his work is a Catholic Book Award, three Pushcart Prizes, the 2012 John Burroughs Award for Nature Essays, Foreword Reviews' Novel of the Year award in 2011, and, mysteriously, the Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2008, this last particularly amazing because previous recipients include Saul Bellow, Kurt Vonnegut, Flannery O’Connor, and Mary Oliver, and wouldn’t that be great table talk?

His greatest accomplishments are that a riveting woman said yup (not yes) when he mumbled a marriage proposal, that the Coherent Mercy then sent them three lanky snotty sneery testy sweet brilliant nutty muttering children in skin boats from the sea of the stars, and that he once made the all-star team in a Boston men’s basketball league that was a really tough league, guys drove the lane in that league they lost fingers, man, one time a guy drove to the basket and got hit so hard his right arm fell off but he was lefty and hit both free throws, so there you go.