This week’s OWHL author is novelist Ursula K. Le Guin. In this post you will find Le Guin’s thoughts on fiction (“The Story’s Where I Go” / “The Art of Fiction no.221”), buying books from Amazon (“I Keep Asking you Not to Buy Books from Amazon”), politics (“Racism, Anarchy, and Hearing Her Characters Speak” / “Still Battling the Powers that Be”), reading in a supposedly post-reading world (“Staying Awake: Notes on the Alleged Decline of Reading”), and other topics.
Here is Le Guin’s bio from her website:
Ursula Kroeber was born in 1929 in Berkeley, California, where she grew up. Her parents were the anthropologist Alfred Kroeber and the writer Theodora Kroeber, author of Ishi. She went to Radcliffe College and did graduate work at Columbia University. She married Charles A. Le Guin, a historian, in Paris in 1953; they have lived in Portland, Oregon, since 1958, and have three children and four grandchildren.
Ursula K. Le Guin writes both poetry and prose, and in various modes including realistic fiction, science fiction, fantasy, young children’s books, books for young adults, screenplays, essays, verbal texts for musicians, and voicetexts. She has published seven books of poetry, twenty-two novels, over a hundred short stories (collected in eleven volumes), four collections of essays, twelve books for children, and four volumes of translation. Few American writers have done work of such high quality in so many forms.
Most of Le Guin’s major titles have remained continuously in print, some for over forty years. Her best known fantasy works, the six Books of Earthsea, have sold millions of copies in America and England, and have been translated into sixteen languages. Her first major work of science fiction, The Left Hand of Darkness, is considered epoch-making in the field for its radical investigation of gender roles and its moral and literary complexity. Her novels The Dispossessed and Always Coming Home redefine the scope and style of utopian fiction, while the realistic stories of a small Oregon beach town in Searoad show her permanent sympathy with the ordinary griefs of ordinary people. Among her books for children, the Catwings series has become a particular favorite. Her version of Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching, a translation she worked on for forty years, has received high praise. Her poetry has drawn increasing critical interest; Finding My Elegy, published in 2012, contains poems selected from previous volumes and new work.
Le Guin leads an intensely private life, with sporadic forays into political activism and steady participation in the literary community of her city. Having taught writing workshops from Vermont to Australia, she is now retired from teaching. She limits her public appearances mostly to the West Coast.
The Fantastic Ursula K. Le Guin [New Yorker]
The Queen of Quinkdom [New York Review of Books | Margaret Atwood]
What Happens when a Science Fiction Genius Starts Blogging? [New Republic]
Ursula K. Le Guin, The Art of Fiction no.221 [Paris Review]
Twenty Questions with Ursula K. Le Guin [Times Literary Supplement]
“I Keep Asking you Not to Buy Books from Amazon” [ElectricLit]
Ursula K. Le Guin on the Future of the Left [Motherboard]
Just Don’t Call Her a Sci-Fi Author [New York Times]
Ursula K. Le Guin is Breathing Fire to Save American Literature [Portland Monthly]
Ursula K. Le Guin on Aging and What Beauty Really Means [BrainPickings]
Interview with Ursula K. Le Guin [Powell’s Books]
The Otherworldly and Utterly Portland Ursula K. Le Guin [Street Roots News]
Ursula K. Le Guin [Interview Magazine]
Radical Speculation and Ursula K. Le Guin (collection of essays) [ada: a journal of gender, new media, and technology]
Literary Legend and Cat Blogger [Longreads]
The Story’s Where I Go: An Interview with Ursula K. Le Guin [Public Books]
No Better Spirit [Slate]
Elementals [LightSpeed Magazine]
Publishing Ursula K. Le Guin in East German [Extrapolation]
Le Guin and god: Quarreling with one, Critiquing Pure Reason [Extrapolations]
“All Happy Families” [Michigan Quarterly Review]
A Non-Euclidean View of California as a Cold Place to Be [Anarchist Library]
Special Guest: Ursula K. Le Guin [WYNC | Studio 360]
Ursula K. Le Guin at 85 [BBC Radio 4]
Le Guin, Atwood, and Science Fiction [Coode Street]