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The Art and the Power of the Word with Ursula K. Le Guin – A Challenge

Ursula K. Le Guin has always been a favorite writer of mine even though I don’t like all her books. I hadn’t realized she won the 2014 National Book Foundation’s medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. For those of you who don’t know she’s fantasy and science fiction writer – at least that’s how the powers that be categorize her. It’s an accurate but unfair pigeon hole in my opinion, because like the best of that genre she helps us explore alternative ways of living; I’d like to see books like hers become popular with a wider audience – we need alternate views.

Her acceptance was a challenge to writers I think

She gave a wow of an acceptance speech which could, if we’re lucky and thoughtful, become a goal and/or standard for all writers. We really do have influence and I think we need to know and honor that in all that we write. As she says, we “… need writers who can remember freedom… ” Le Guin is a great model of just that. Each of us can do the same with our own, unique voice.

The video is just over 6 minutes:

You’ll find a transcript of her talk by clicking here.

I had not realized what a firebrand she really is. Her website is well worthy exploring. For example, I found an article there called 99. Up the Amazon with the BS Machine, or Why I keep Asking You Not to Buy Books from Amazon. It’s more about the problems inherent in book publishing today than it is about Amazon, but she pulls no punches at pointing out exactly how the big box bookstore operates to support profits over quality, etc. (By the way, the book she points to there, Rebecca Skloot’s Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, is truly an amazing book – about racism, gene patenting and more. I highly recommend you read it. Skloot is a writer who remembers freedom.)

Be warned, however – Le Guin’s site takes some serious time to explore, and much like her books – time well spent!

Thanks to Yes! magazine and their article, Ursula K. Le Guin Calls on Fantasy and Sci Fi Writers to Envision Alternatives to Capitalism which got me started on all of this. Yes! is worth a read too.

Does this spark any ideas in you? I’d be delighted to see them in comments.

Write well and often,




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