Born to Write: Ursula K. Le Guin
Ursula Kroeber Le Guin left the planet on January 22, and Earth is a poorer place because of it. But fortunately for us, she left a tremendous body of work behind.
She was a bright, articulate writer who wrote great sf and fantasy. Among a huge number of awards and honors, Le Guin won 6 Hugo awards as well as an equal number of Nebula awards from SFWA and was named a Grand Master by them (the second woman to be so honored) in 2003. Her novel, The Left Hand of Darkness, often still cited as one of the greatest works of science fiction and a genuine genre-changer, won both the Hugo and the Nebula in 1969.
Her work extended beyond print. Her novel, Lathe of Heaven, was made into a TV movie, Earthsea into a mini-series and she also wrote The Starlost TV series premiere. And as a passionate writer, Le Guin wrote a huge number of essays about the craft she loved along with reviews, and gave numerous interviews.
There have been many tributes written in her honor this week, and doubtless more to come. Here is just a small sample of the wealth of resources she left us:
- Her website is loaded with essays and biographical information
- There’s a collection of essays on writing on her blog. The list also contains links to info about films, a long list of book reviews she wrote, online readings of her work, maps, notes and more.
- Including this piece: “Plausibility in Fantasy” – how to achieve it.
- And more on plausibility.
- “On Rules of Writing” – 3 traditional rules and when to break or bend them.
- Her 1998 book on writing, Steering the Craft: A Twenty First Century Guide to Sailing the Sea of Story is available from Powell’s Books.
- And here’s the first chapter.
- With a follow-up article at Book View Cafe.
- A collection of 67 essays, Words Are My Matter: Writings About Life and Books, 2000-2016, for which she won a special Hugo last year for Best Related Works, also at Powell’s.
- An interview at The Paris Review.
- Some notable writing quotes.
- Chuck Wendig’s blog post with some great answers she gave:
- And over at Tor, her speech at the 2014 National Book Awards, where she presciently predicted the “hard times” to come.