Le Guin, Ursula Kroeber krō´bər lə gwĭn´ [key]
, 1929–2018, American writer, b. Berkeley, Calif.; daughter of anthropologist Alfred Louis Kroeber
. Possessing a keen eye for physical and cultural detail, she used science fiction to explore contemporary society and made fantasy into a truly literary form. Written from a distinctly feminist perspective, her books tend to revolve about clashes of culture and stress the need for compassion and balance. A prolific writer of both adult and children's fiction, she gained fame beginning in the 1960s with her series of books about beings from Hain, including Rocannon's World
(1966), The Left Hand of Darkness
(1969), The Dispossessed
(1974), and The Telling
(2000). She is also known for her cycle of Earthsea stories and novels, including the novels A Wizard of Earthsea
(1968), The Tombs of Atuan
(1971), and Tehanu
(1990) and the short fiction in Tales from Earthsea
(2001). Le Guin was also an essayist, poet, and translator; topics in No Time to Spare: Thinking about What Matters
(2017), her last essay collection, range from her cat to the nature of belief to old age.
See her The Wave in the Mind: Talks and Essays on the Writer, the Reader, and the Imagination (2004); C. Freedman, Conversations with Ursula K. Le Guin (2008), and U. K. Le Guin and D. Naimon, Ursula K. Le Guin: Conversations on Writing (2018).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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