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Ursula K. Le Guin

Ursula K. Le Guin (born October 21, 1929), is an American author of fantasy and science fiction works, poetry, and essays.

First published in the 1960s, she is now regarded as one of the best science fiction authors; she has received several Hugo and Nebula awards, and was awarded the Gandalf Grand Master award in 1979. The daughter of anthropologist Alfred Kroeber and writer Theodora Kroeber[?], Le Guin is noted for her exploration of Taoist, anarchist, feminist, psychological, and sociological themes and for her exemplary style.

Her interests in literature manifested themselves early. At the age of 11, she submitted her first story to Astounding Science Fiction (it was not accepted.) She attended Harvard University's Radcliffe[?] college, then Columbia University, graduating with an M. A. She later studied in France, where she met her husband, Charles Le Guin. Her earliest writings (little of which were published at the time, but some of which resurfaced in altered form years later in Orsinian Tales[?] and Malafrena[?]), were nonfantastic stories of imaginary countries. Searching for a publishable way to express her interests, she re-awakened her interest in science fiction, beginning to publish regularly in the early 1960s. She became notable with the publication of her 1969 novel The Left Hand of Darkness, which won the Hugo and Nebula awards.

Much of Le Guin's science fiction work is distinguished from other examples of the genre by its strong emphasis on the 'social' sciences, including sociology and anthropology. Her works often make use of unusual alien cultures to convey a message about our own culture; one example of this is in the exploration of sexual identity via the gender-shifting natives of The Left Hand of Darkness.

Le Guin is known for her ability to create believable worlds populated by deeply human characters (regardless of whether they are technically 'human'). Her fantasy works (such as the Earthsea books), are much more focused on the human condition than are works by authors such as J. R. R. Tolkien. Le Guin has also written fiction set much closer to home; many of her short stories are set in our world, in the present, or the near future.

Her fiction includes:

Short story collections:

Children's books:

  • Catwings
  • Fish Soup

Le Guin has also published nonfiction and poetry.


  • The Language of the Night
  • Dancing at the Edge of the World
  • Lao Tzu : Tao Te Ching, a Book about the Way & the Power of the Way (a translation and commentary)
  • Steering the Craft[?] (about writing)


  • Wild Oats and Fireweed
  • Going Out with Peacocks and Other Poems

See also: Omelas

External links

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