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'Martin Marten' is only the second work of fiction to be awarded the Burroughs Medal in its 90-year history

Lake Oswego author Brian Doyle has been awarded the Burroughs Medal for his novel, 'Martin Marten.'Lake Oswego author Brian Doyle has been selected as the winner of the 2017 John Burroughs Medal for distinguished nature writing for his book "Martin Marten," the University of Portland announced Thursday.

This is the second time that Doyle, who is currently on medical leave from his role as editor of the university's Portland magazine, has been recognized by the John Burroughs Association.

In 2012, he was honored with the award for Outstanding Published Nature Essay for "The Creature Beyond the Mountains," an homage to the sturgeon of the Pacific Northwest, which appeared in the September/October 2011 issue of Orion Magazine.

"Martin Marten," only the second work of fiction to be awarded the Burroughs Medal in its 90-year history, is about the relationship between a boy and a pine marten, the home they share in the forest near Mount Hood and the other lives going on around them, human and other.

For "Martin Marten," Doyle closely observed the ways and habitats of pine martens and their relatives in the Oregon Cascades, and how they bump up against their two-legged neighbors where the wilderness meets the edge of human civilization.

"The judges felt how he combined an acute sense of human behavior with a wild natural setting and the life of a native denizen of the forest showed uncommon breadth, depth and originality of insight," said Beth Sorensen, a university spokeswoman.

Doyle is well known to contemporary readers of environmental literature and is a much-loved resident of Lake Oswego. He is currently recuperating at home from surgery after being diagnosed with brain cancer in November 2016.

A nine-time Oregon Book Award nominee, Doyle won last year for "Martin Marten." His essays and poems have been published in The Atlantic Monthly, Harper's, Orion, Commonwealth, the Times of London, the annual Best American Essays, Best American Science and Nature Writing and Best American Spiritual Writing anthologies, among others.

His novel "Mink River" was the selected title for the Lake Oswego Reads program in 2012. His most recent book, "The Kind of Brave You Wanted to Be," was released in October 2016. A new work, "The Adventures of John Carson in Several Quarters of the World: A Novel of Robert Louis Stevenson," will be published on March 28.

The John Burroughs Medal was created in 1926 to recognize the best in nature writing and to honor the literary legacy of naturalist John Burroughs. This year's medals will be presented April 3 at the Annual Literary Awards ceremony of the John Burroughs Association during a celebratory luncheon at the Yale Club of New York City.

— The Review

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