UP author Brian Doyle up for Oregon Book Awards

By The Beacon | January 23, 2013 9:00pm


Brian Doyle, editor of Portland Magazine and seven-time Oregon Book Awards nominee, hopes to continue to influence people through his writing. Doyle finds out if he won a 2013 Oregon Book award in April. (Stephanie Matusiefsky | THE BEACON)

By Kathryn Walters, Staff Writer walters14@up.edu

For Portland Magazine editor Brian Doyle, being a seven-time nominee for the Oregon Book Awards is immensly gratifying.

"It's like having your brother clap you on the back. Any kind of public laud is pleasant," Doyle said. "Especially here, writing books is such an integral part of Oregon. To have books chosen as the best is cool."

This year, Doyle's book "Bin Laden's Bald Spot" is nominated for the Ken Kesey Award for Fiction. His book "Cat's Foot" is nominated for the Leslie Bradshaw Award for Young Adult Literature. The winners will be announced at the 26th Oregon Book Awards ceremony on April 8. Last year, Doyle's book "Mink River" was a finalist for the Ken Kesey Award for Fiction.

Doyle said because writing is a solitary act, it is special when many writers and authors come together for an event like the Oregon Book Awards.

"To be gathered together as a club of storytellers is great," he said. "It's a real shaggy Academy Awards because no one dresses well."

"Bin Laden's Bald Spot" is a collection of short stories, one of them a story about Osama bin Laden's barber, while "Cat's Paw" is a novella about a man whose foot is blown off in a war and returns to find it.

"It would be fun if 'Cat's Foot' won," Doyle said. "I was trying to write a very gentle anti-war book for teens."

Doyle said if either of his books win, it will validate the importance of storytelling.

"It gives me a chance to get up and say thanks," he said. "I'd love to get up and say, 'stories matter.' They're powerful and they're holy."

Doyle said he wants to explore different forms of writing, from plays to children's books.

"The most powerful way to shiver a heart is to tell a story," he said. "If I can influence people, that would be great."