Ursula Le Guin – ‘A Born Writer’

 

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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:

Earthsea Series:

–          A Wizard of Earthsea

–          The Tombs of Atuan

–          The Farthest Shore

–          Tehanu: The Last Book of Earthsea

–          Tales from Earthsea

–          The Other Wind

Other Novels:

–          Lavinia

–          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

 

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James Herbert – The Man Who Knows How To Write An Exceptional Chiller!

James Herbert

James John Herbert was born on the 8th of April, 1943 in London, England. James is a horror/chiller writer with more than 54 million copies of his books sold worldwide. James left school at the early age of 15, but later on went to study at the Hornsey College of Art. After graduating he went on to join a small advertising agency.

In 1974 James published his first novel called The Rats which became an instant success. A lot of people were very critical of The Rats saying that it wasn’t literature. The readers of the time were appalled by the vivid depictions of death and violence that James had written. From this point forward James went on to write a book nearly every year.

James died on the 20th March 2013 at the age of 69. He is survived by a wife and three daughters.

Here are some interesting facts about James Herbert:

James designed many of his own book covers, this may be from the benefit of having worked at an advertising agency.

Herbert was afraid of the dark as a child, but later on in life his real fear was spiders.

In 2010 James was made Grand Master of Horror by the World Horror Convention and given an award by Stephen King.

James was also awarded Officer of the Order of the British Empire, giving him the title of OBE.

Supposedly he would make sure he was finished writing every night at 6 in time to watch The Simpsons and drink a glass of Vodka.

Four of his novels have been made into films. The Rats, The Survivor, Fluke and Haunted.

James never read any of his own books.

Something that Stephen King once said about his writing: “Herbert was by no means literary, but his work had a raw urgency… His best novels, The Rats and The fog, had the effect of Mike Tyson in his championship days: no finesse, all crude power. Those books were best sellers because many readers (including me) were too horrified to put them down.”

 

Some writing by James Herbert you should check out:

Novels

Ash            The Fog                The Rats                        The Magic Cottage                    Fluke

The Survivor                   The Dark                 Shrine                      The Spear                     The Jonah                   Lair

Moon                 Nobody True                   Haunted                  Domain                  Sepulchre              

Portent                  The Secret of Crickley Hall                Once                  Creed                   The Ghosts of Sleath

’48                 Others       

 

Short Stories

They Don’t Like Us                    Breakfast                  Maurice and Mog             

Halloweens Child                 Cora’s Needs                   Extinct

 

Bell Night