Community and the Western Landscape

Ivan Doig (1939 - )

This House of Sky


  • Born in 1939 in White Sulphur Springs, Montana, the son of a ranch worker and ranch cook; his mother died of lifelong asthma on his sixth birthday.
  • Grew up along the Rocky Mountain Front where many of his works take place.
  • Married Carol Dean Muller, a professor, in 1965; moved to Seattle in 1966, where his wife still teaches literature of the American West.
  • Educated at Northwestern University (B.J., 1961, M.S. in journalism, 1962); University of Washington, Seattle (Ph.D. his history, 1969).


  • Worked as a ranch hand, newspaperman, and magazine editor before becoming a freelance journalist and novelist.
  • Received a National Book Award nomination and the Christopher Award for This House of Sky: Landscapes of a Western Mind in 1979.
  • Received a Distinguished Achievement Award from the Western Literature Association for the body of his work in 1989.

Major Writings

This House of Sky: Landscapes of a Western Mind (memoir) (1978)
Winter Brothers: A Season at the Edge of America (nonfiction) (1980)
The Sea Runners (novel) (1974)
English Creek (first novel in trilogy) (1984)
Dancing at the Rascal Fair (second novel in trilogy) (1987)
Ride With Me, Mariah Montana (final novel in trilogy) (1990)
Heart Earth: A Memoir (1993)
Bucking the Sun (novel) (1996)
Mountain Time (novel) (1999)

Biographcal Sources, Critical Sources and Reviews

  • For critical and biographical information, see the following Gale publications:  Contemporary Authors, Volumes 81-84; Contemporary Authors, New Revision Series, Volumes 24 and 49; and Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 206: Twentieth-Century American Western Writers (contains portrait).   Gale Literary Database (Contemporary Authors Online) can be accessed online through a subscribing library at
  • Some print reviews:
    Chicago Tribune, September 17, 1978
    Los Angeles Times Book Review, September 13, 1978
    New York Times Book Review
    , January 7, 1979
    Seattle Post-Intelligencer, October 1, 1978
    Seattle Times, September 11, 1978
    Time, September 11, 1978
    Washington Post, December 11, 1978
  • Other print resources:
    New Ground: Western American Narrative and the Literary Canon (A. Carl Bredahl, 1989)
    Writers of the Purple Sage (Russell Martin, 1984)
    Talking Up a Storm: Voices of the New West (Gregory L. Morris, 1994)
    At Field's End: Interviews with Twenty Pacific Northwest Writers (Nicholas O'Connell, 1987)
    Earthlight, Wordfire: The Work of Ivan Doig (Elizabeth Simpson, 1992)

Retired Discussion Series

Debbie Sturman, Director
425 South Main Street, P O Box 510
Lusk, WY 82225-0510
Phone: 307-334-3490
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