When I served in the Coast Guard in the 1980s I had the opportunity to see great writers speaking at the Boston Public Library and that includes Ursula K. Le Guin.
I knew of her but was unfamiliar with her work. After hearing her speak on writing, fantasy, and all that, I went out and purchase A Wizard of Earthsea.
Quite simply, I was amazed at the strength of the story and the storytelling.
I went on to read the entire Earthsea series by Le Guin. I read several of her novels and pursued quite a few of her short stories. The Left Hand of Darkness. Oh my gosh!
What is best is that Le Guin, who had to come up as a “female science fiction writer” – a tough thing to do – has become quite simply a great American writer. That’s significant.
Her death in 1988 hit me hard. It was a tough one and I’m not often affected by celebrity deaths.
But Le Guin isn’t a celebrity. She was an amazing writer who influenced American literature and science fiction for decades, and will continue to do so for a long time to come.
The point of all this Le Guin
PBS announced that on August 2, a documentary about Ursula K. Le Guin will air.
Here’s a link announcing the documentary:
I can’t wait. It should be quite interesting.
Here is a portion of the press release distributed by PBS:
THIRTEEN’s American Masters Presents the Exclusive U.S. Broadcast Premiere of Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin, the First Documentary on the Renowned Writer, August 2 on PBS
Features intimate conversations with the author, and new interviews with Neil Gaiman, Margaret Atwood, Michael Chabon and David Mitchell
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Le Guin’s seminal novel “The Left Hand of Darkness”
Best known for her science fiction and “Earthsea” fantasy series, celebrated and beloved author Ursula Kroeber Le Guin (1929–2018) wrote 21 novels, 11 volumes of short stories, four collections of essays, 12 children’s books, six volumes of poetry and four of translation during her life. American Masters presents the first documentary film exploring the remarkable life and legacy of the prolific and versatile author: Worlds of Ursula K. LeGuin, premiering nationwide Friday, August 2 at 9 p.m. on PBS(check local listings), pbs.org/americanmasters and the PBS Video app.
Produced with Le Guin’s participation over the course of a decade, American Masters – Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin tells the intimate coming-of-age story of the Portland, Oregon, housewife and mother of three who forever transformed American literature by bringing science fiction into the literary mainstream. Through her influential work, Le Guin opened doors for generations of younger writers like Neil Gaiman, Margaret Atwood, Michael Chabon and David Mitchell — all of whom appear in the film — to explore fantastic elements in their writing.
The film explores the personal and professional life of the notoriously private author through revealing conversations with Le Guin as well as her family, friends and the generations of renowned writers she influenced. Visually rich, Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin illustrates the dramatic real-world settings that shaped Le Guin’s invented places using lush original animations over her own readings of her work to provide a firsthand experience of her fantastic worlds.
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