Ursula Le Guin was born on the 21st of October 1929. She is an American author who writes in the genres of fantasy and science fiction. Ursula is most famous for her ‘Tales from Earthsea’ fantasy series. There are six books in this series and they have sold millions of copies throughout America and England. These books have also been translated into sixteen different languages. Many fans of Hayao Miyazaki (maker of anime feature films) will recognise the title ‘Tales from Earthsea’ from the 2006 movie.
Ursula was interested in reading and writing at a very young age. At age 9 she had written her first fantasy story and at age 11 she had a science fiction story published in a magazine called Astounding Science Fiction. Ursula is the daughter of anthropologist Alfred Kroeber and writer Theodora Kroeber. Her father’s career in anthropology influenced some of her science fiction stories, some of which included highly detailed descriptions of alien societies.
Here are some interesting facts about Ursula Le Guin:
Ursula met her husband while travelling to France, his name was Charles Le Guin. Charles was a historian.
‘Tales from Earthsea’ was written for children, but because of her attention to detail and great writing skills it appealed to a larger adult audience.
Ursula grew up with three older brothers, in an intellectually stimulating environment created by their parents. All of them were encouraged to read from a young age.
From 1951 – 1961 Ursula wrote five novels which were all rejected by publishers because they were deemed too inaccessible.
In the 1960’s Ursula’s work seemed to pick up and she was becoming more successful. It was also during this period that she experienced bouts of depression. She has described this as “dark passages that I had to work through.” In one of her novels from ‘Tales of the Earthsea’ she has used a quote from Rilke’s ‘Duino Elegies’ – “Depression as a journey through the silent land of the dead.
One of the places that Ursula likes to go is to the high desert of eastern Oregon with her husband Charles. She enjoys the awareness that the desert gives her of distance, emptiness, and geological time.
Ursula’s major influences are – J.R.R. Tolkien, Philip K. Dick, Leo Tolstoy, The Bronte sisters and Virginia Woolf.
Ursula is known as a writer who has broken down the walls of genre and has taught many other writers to step out of their ‘genre comfort zones.’
Please have a look at some of Ursula Le Guin’s writing:
– A Wizard of Earthsea
– The Tombs of Atuan
– The Farthest Shore
– Tehanu: The Last Book of Earthsea
– Tales from Earthsea
– The Other Wind
– The Lathe of Heaven
– The Eye of the Heron
– Always Coming Home
– Annals of the Western Shore
– The Compass Rose
– Searoad: Chronicles of Klatsand
– The Wind’s Twelve Quarters
– The Beginning place
– Orsinian Tales
Hainish Science Fiction (Hainish Cycle is a number of science fiction novels an alternate history/future)
– Rocannon’s World
– Planet of Exile
– City of Illusions
– The Left Hand of Darkness
– This Dispossessed
– The Word for World is Forest
– Four Ways to Forgiveness
– The Telling