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Brian Doyle, author

© Hob Osterlund

The world lost a kind soul, an insightful and colorful and spirited writer, Bryan Doyle, on Saturday, May 27th, 2017.

May we all read his works–in books– both fiction and non,  essays in magazines, essays in the University of Portland Quarterly Magazine and in audio recordings. We in the Skagit Valley had occasions to see him work his magic, and it was magic. His storytelling knew no logical bounds. He made us weep with his stories. Made us laugh. I thought again about his story of meeting the Dali Lama in Portland and their argument over whether basketball or soccer was the larger sport. I loved him in his standard speaker’s clothing–sporting the jacket his mother had given him. I asked him about his apparent uniform once, and that’s what he told me. I took comfort in his answer. He wore his family connections with pride.

I only knew him a few years, but he made such an electric impression that he will never be forgotten. Those of us at KSVR fm radio in Mt Vernon still speak of the twinkle in his eye when I interviewed him in March of 2015. We were all smitten. I will be forever grateful for the opportunity to have had his audience for 25 golden minutes. Rest peacefully Brian.

Ann Bodle-Nash


Brian Doyle, a well-known and award-winning author, passed away Saturday morning from complications related to a brain tumor, according to a release from the University of Portland.

Doyle, 60, was the author of “Mink River,” “The Plover,” “Chicago,” and “Martin Marten.” He won a 2016 Oregon Book Award for Young Adult Literature for “Martin Marten.”

Doyle was editor of University of Portland’s Portland Magazine for 25 years, and is survived by his wife May, their daughter Lily and twin sons Liam and Joseph.

Brian Doyle Updated

December 13, 2016

Brian Doyle was recently diagnosed with a brain tumor. He had surgery last week in Portland and is recovering from the surgery. However, he has a long road ahead.

He is a marvelous human being, struck with a nasty diagnosis. We who have crossed his path wish him a recovery.

If you would like to contribute to a GoFundme campaign on behalf of his family please go to:


Brian Doyle, author of Mink River, The Plover, and too numerous to count insightful full-of-truths essays was in Bellingham, Washington last night. Again. He was the headliner for the Chuckanut Radio Hour show, hosted by producers Chuck and Dee Robinson owners of Village Books in Bellingham, recently called one of the top four bookstores in America.

Brian is a regional favorite although he hails from Portland, Oregon our hipster sister community to the south some 250 miles. Perhaps both cities have equal tattoo to body parts ratios, Brian excluded.


He has a new book out, Martin Marten. It’s billed as a YA book (young adult genre) but I suspect the themes transcend that generation and move right up the chain to those of us old enough to remember when we were 14.

Martin Marten is written out of the head of a young person with an encyclopedic, careening vocabulary at moments, with a cast of supporting characters.

But I know Brian as a guest on my once-weekly, (unless I am called more often) radio interview show, Skagit Talks on KSVR, KSVU and KSJU fm, Community Radio stations in Mt Vernon, WA. He was assigned to me via email.


At first I said yes because I have a soft spot for authors. In fact I was on vacation with my granddaughter, checking my cell phone, when I said yes. His name sounded vaguely familiar, although I was not sure why. Then the requester typed the words Mink River. That rang a bell. I had a vision of the title prominently displayed on the bookshelf in the Sea-Tac airport. OMG I texted back to the requestor.

I want to tell you how difficult it is to find a NW author, even Brian Doyle, in Orlando, Florida. “The book’s been in print five years now,” said the clerk in Barnes and Noble. “We can’t keep every book on the shelf.”

In the meantime I downloaded The Plover, a gem of a novel about sailor extraordinaire Declan, a guy who made an appearance in Mink River, and his voyage across the Great Pacific in a small boat, collecting other strays along the way. Including a talking gull.

By the time Brian arrived in the radio studio— dressed in his author wardrobe: khakis, a black shirt, leather bomber jacket, polished dress shoes—I was ready. At least I thought, nervously.

But it’s impossible to be ready for Brian for he is a man of flowing words, truths, lies, funny stories, tugs at his whiskers— a master of the one-raised eyebrow trick with bits of Gaelic interspersed at just the right moments. He is a one-man proponent of lifting up your neighbor, kindness to others and deeply moving philosophical rants, often in essays published in the University of Portland’s Quarterly magazine (where he is resident editor) and even on the next-to-back page of the most recent University of Puget Sound’s Arches magazine. Chuck Luce, the UPS editor, knows a great essayist when he sees or reads one. Brian is your guy.


So I share with you two things now. First is my intro for Brian that did make him squint his eyes up tight, incredulous perhaps, at what I was saying. Then a link to the interview, which followed.

It was St Patrick’s Day, and he was the co-headliner with renown Irish poet Tony Curtis at a festive fundraiser for the local Celtic Arts Foundation.

If you want to get lost in a book, and you don’t mind unusual punctuation that flows, while it’s carrying you to the land of talking birds and unrelenting seas and lists of birds and flora and fauna and feelings, I recommend Brian Doyle. Strongly.

He is a storycatcher. A storyteller. A muse.



Brian Doyle
© Hob Osterlund

BRIAN DOYLE edits Portland Magazine at the University of Portland, in Oregon. He is the author of six collections of essays, two nonfiction books, two collections of “proems,” the short story collection Bin Laden’s Bald Spot, the novella Cat’s Foot, and the novels Mink River, The Plover, and Martin Marten. He is also the editor of several anthologies, including Ho`olaule`a, a collection of writing about the Pacific islands. Doyle’s books have seven 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 John Burroughs Award for Nature Essays, Foreword Reviews’ Novel of the Year award in 2011, and the Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2008 (previous recipients include Saul Bellow, Kurt Vonnegut, Flannery O’Connor, and Mary Oliver).

He is with me today in the studio, fresh off a plane, and headed for an evening of big doings in the Skagit Valley, on this St. Patrick’s Day 2015.

As an interviewer, a reader of literary fiction, and a Creative Writing student it is nearly impossible to describe the writings of Brian Doyle. But in his own style I will try.

     He loves lists: imagine a story where the entire contents of a room, down to the sharpened pencil tips, are described in a long list with no commas no pauses to breathe no conversations interrupting just a listing of the minutia including the sounds of the chickadees, eagles, brants, snow geese, trumpeter swans, goldfinches, robins, and Asiatic doves and bobwhites (that have migrated-in recently), all outside the window of the room where a blue ceramic vase holds the pencils captive.

 To my new friends.

Brian Doyle author photo





Brian Doyle interview

Tony Curtis poet 2





Tony Curtis interview






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Category: Indie It Books

About the Author: Ann Bodle-Nash: A free-lance traveler since the age of 11 months, little moss grows on her soles. With relatives and friends scattered across the globe, she finds frequent excuses to travel. But travel in the West is best--those quiet corners of weirdness are like light to a moth, burning with intensity, encouraging curiosity and discovery. She imagines the glory of 30 days of continuous floating and fly fishing on the Yellowstone River after watching a documentary on same. Currently living in Washington State with her husband.

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