Ursula K Le Guin is a celebrated novelist in the science fiction genre.
Over the course of her sixty year career as a writer she has won a large number of awards and has most recently been awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award (2012) and the National Book Foundation medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters (2014). She has written many successful sci-fi fantasy series notably including Earthsea, for young adults. Every novel in this series won an award within the genre.
Le Guin discovered sci-fi through reading ‘pulp magazines’ with her brother as children and submitted her first short story to Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine when she was eleven.
Le Guin is said to have been inspired by authors such as J R R Tolkein and the Bronte sisters who she credits as demonstrating to her what was possible within the fantasy and speculative fiction genre.
Le Guin’s novels move away from presenting ‘predicted futures’ and instead introduce the reader to strange new worlds which suggest possible new futures. Le Guin’s fantastical narratives appeal to children and young adults, making her a successful author across multiple demographics. Her novels also have many layers which provide commentary on the politics and society of their time which are laced throughout her fictional worlds. In the ‘Hainish Cycle’ novels for example, she uses the notion of a world formed of individual islands in which the characters experience a distinct sense of isolation to explore the notion of intercultural encounters, an issue present in society at their time of publication. These novels then, with their focus on human sciences and the issues arising within them are certainly far more than fantasy, one of the reasons that Le Guin remains a celebrated author in the genre tod