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Exploring Ivan Doig – The Bartender’s Tale
July 29 @ 6:00pm
As part of the series, each month from June to September the MSU Library and Country Bookshelf will hold a community discussion of one of Doig’s last four books. Each discussion will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. at the bookstore, located at 28 W. Main St. in downtown Bozeman. The public is invited to attend any or all of the free discussions.
The full series is listed below by date and title:
Monday, June 24: “Work Song” (published in 2010)
Monday, July 29: “The Bartender’s Tale” (published in 2012)
Monday, Aug. 26: “Sweet Thunder” (published in 2013)
Monday, Sept. 30: “Last Bus to Wisdom” (published in 2015)
The discussion series will be led by Jan Zauha, humanities and outreach librarian at MSU. Zauha said it will focus on Doig’s novels written after he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma and while he managed the disease. Doig’s medical journals and other supplemental materials from the MSU Library’s Ivan Doig Archive (http://ivandoig.montana.edu) will be used to further understand the connections between Doig’s medical journey and his creative process.
Upon donating his archive to MSU Library in 2015, Doig’s widow, Carol, said that no estimate of Ivan Doig’s achievements as a writer would be complete without consideration of what he accomplished after he had been diagnosed with a fatal disease.
Zauha said that while it may seem bleak to focus on Doig’s medical journey, it is important to understanding Doig as a writer and can serve as a motivator to those undertaking creative pursuits.
“I am continuously amazed at how Doig was able stay motivated during the last few years of his life,” said Zauha. “MSU Library is fortunate to have his medical journals along with his other archival materials as they play an important role in helping narrate Doig’s story.”
Doig, who grew up in White Sulphur Springs and Dupuyer, was a writer of international acclaim who published 16 volumes of fiction and nonfiction. His first book, “This House of Sky: Landscapes of a Western Mind,” a poetic memoir published in 1979, was a finalist for the National Book Award. Doig then turned to writing fiction that perennially hit bestseller lists. His final book, “Last Bus to Wisdom,” was published in 2015.
Although Doig had lived in Seattle for many years, the lives of his characters more often than not shared Doig’s Big Sky roots. Doig died in 2015 at the age of 75. In his obituary, The New York Times wrote that Doig “created a body of work that helped shape our understanding of rural working class life in the postwar American West.”
Individuals interested in being placed on an email distribution list for the Doig series are invited to contact Zauha at firstname.lastname@example.org.