Brian James Patrick Doyle was born in 1956 in New York to Ethel Clancey Doyle, a teacher, and James Doyle, a journalist who was executive director of the Catholic Press Association for 30 years. Catholic, Boston College Magazine and finally Portland Magazine, where he became editor in 1991, a position he held until his death.
“He tends to be able to find the right word to describe things for which you don’t even know there are words.” said Bill Baars, director of the Lake Oswego library, and a good friend of Doyle’s.Doyle was a prolific author of essays about subjects from the Pacific Islands to children to spirituality, and his work appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, Harper’s, Orion, The Sun and anthologies like Best American Essays, and Best American Spiritual Writing, among others.He also wrote several novels, which he described as a very different creative process.He wrote "Mink River," the Oregon Coast novel beloved by book clubs nationwide; "Martin Marten," the Oregon Book Award-winning novel about a boy and a pine marten growing up side by side on Mount Hood; and books about pinot noir, Catholicism, and the heart, to name just a few more.He spun sometimes puckish, sometimes heartfelt short stories about life's follies and oddities ("Bin Laden's Bald Spot"), humorous yet poignant essays ("Children and Other Wild Animals"), and prayers that were less about a particular faith than about universal compassion and gratitude ("Prayer for Cashiers and Checkout-Counter Folks").He is the author of 13 books, among them the novel magazine as the finest university magazine in the country.His greatest accomplishments are that a riveting woman said yup when he mumbled a marriage proposal, and 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. “I love writing novels, novels are like long dreams,” Doyle told OPB last year at the Wordstock Book Festival in Portland.“You really don’t know what’s going on, you take an idea out for a walk, and then the characters take over…"To catch and share stories, what could be holier and cooler than that? Brian Doyle is an essayist, author, and editor of Portland Magazine at the University of Portland – “the best spiritual magazine in the country,” according to Annie Dillard.