Ursula Kroeber Le Guin(;October 21, 1929 January 22, 2018) was an American author best known for her works of, includingworks set in her, and theseries. She was first published in 1959, and her literary career spanned nearly sixty years, producing more than, in addition to poetry,, translations, and children’s books. Frequently described as an author of science fiction, Le Guin has also been called a “major voice in American Letters”.Le Guin herself said she would prefer to be known as an “American novelist”.
Le Guin was born in, to authorand anthropologist. Having earned a master’s degree in French, Le Guin began doctoral studies but abandoned these after her marriage in 1953 to historian Charles Le Guin. She began writing full-time in the late 1950s and achieved major critical and commercial success with(1968) and(1969), which have been described byas her masterpieces.For the latter volume, Le Guin won both theand, becoming the first woman to do so. Several more works set in Earthsea or the Hainish universe followed; others included books set in the fictional country of, several works for children, and many anthologies.
,,, and the writings ofall had a strong influence on Le Guin’s work. Many of her stories used anthropologists or cultural observers as protagonists, and Taoist ideas about balance and equilibrium have been identified in several writings. Le Guin often subverted typical speculative fiction tropes, such as through her use ofprotagonists in Earthsea, and also used unusual stylistic or structural devices in books such as the experimental work(1985). Social and political themes, including race, gender, sexuality, andwere prominent in her writing, and she explored alternative political structures in many stories, such as in the parable “” (1973) and the utopian novel(1974).
Le Guin’s writing was enormously influential in the field of speculative fiction, and has been the subject of intense critical attention. She received numerous accolades, including eight, six, and twenty-two, and in 2003 became the second woman honored as aof the. The U.S.named her ain 2000, and in 2014, she won the. Le Guin influenced many other authors, includingwinner,,, and. After her death in 2018, criticwrote that Le Guin had “presided over American science fiction for nearly half a century”,while authorreferred to her as the “greatest American writer of her generation