Ursula K. Le Guin life and biography

Ursula K. Le Guin picture, image, poster

Ursula K. Le Guin biography

Date of birth : 1929-10-21
Date of death : -
Birthplace : Berkeley, California, United States
Nationality : American
Category : Arts and Entertainment
Last modified : 2010-08-24
Credited as : Writer and novelist, wrote short stories and poetry, science fiction books

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Whether she writes within the genres of children's books, young adult realism and fantasy, or adult science fiction, Ursula K. Le Guin is considered by many to be one of the most creative authors working today. She is best known for her fantasy fiction, particularly the acclaimed "Earthsea" books, but her science fiction novels have also won her a wide following. According to Brian Attebery, writing in the Dictionary of Literary Biography, "Le Guin's fiction is extraordinarily risky: it is full of hypotheses about morality, love, society, and ways of enriching life expressed in the symbolic language found in myth, dream, or poetry."

Le Guin was born in 1929, to Theodora and Alfred Kroeber. Her father was a professor of anthropology at the University of California, and her mother was a writer. Le Guin once recalled that their summer house was "an old, tumble-down ranch in the Napa Valley ... [and] a gathering place for scientists, writers, students, and California Indians. Even though I didn't pay much attention, I heard a lot of interesting, grown-up conversation." She also grew up hearing a variety of Native American tales from her father and reading a great deal of mythology; she particularly liked Norse myths.

Le Guin has three older brothers, but she feels her upbringing was totally nonsexist, as her parents expected the same achievements of her as of her brothers. Her home was also nonreligious. She once related: "There was no religious practice of any kind. There was also no feeling that any religion was better than another or worse; they just weren't part of our life. They were something other people did." Eventually, Le Guin developed a strong respect for Taoism, the Eastern religion of acceptance and change. The impact of the Taoist text I Ching has influenced many of her books, and she published a translation of it, Lao Tzu: Tao Te Ching: A Book about the Way and the Power of the Way, in 1997.

Le Guin's books are also informed by her feminism and her progressive views about social relationships. Though her early works focused mostly on male heroes, she eventually began portraying women in central, action-oriented roles. The Left Hand of Darkness is set in a world where people have no fixed gender but become male or female when they desire sexual activity. Le Guin has also dealt with issues of race--The Lathe of Heaven, for instance, has a romance between a white man and a black woman--and sexual preference. These aspects of her writing have been revolutionary in science fiction, often seen, as Book writer Ellen Emry Heltzel noted, as "a white, male enclave reflecting its original base of readers." In Heltzel's view, Le Guin "is sensitive to issues of race, class and gender and is among a generation of writers who have elevated the role of human feeling in the formerly hard-wired SF field."

As children, Le Guin and one of her brothers enjoyed Amazing Stories, a short-story magazine. She made her first short-story submission at the age of twelve to the magazine, but the story was rejected. "It was all right with me," she once said. "It was junk. At least I had a real rejection slip to show for it." While Le Guin always thought of herself as a writer, after completing her bachelor's degree at Radcliffe, she decided to follow her father's advice and find a marketable career. She studied Romance languages with the intent of teaching and earned her master's degree from Columbia University. She was pursuing a doctorate in French and Italian Renaissance literature on a Fulbright fellowship when she met Charles Le Guin. Both were traveling to France via the Queen Mary. "We had a shipboard romance and, as the French have developed bureaucracy into a way of life, spent our first six months trying to marry," Le Guin recalled. After returning to the States, the couple moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where her husband taught at Emory University and Le Guin worked as a secretary and wrote. She spent the next several years balancing part-time work, writing, and family, which came to include three children: Elisabeth, Caroline, and Theodore. The family eventually settled in Portland, Oregon.

During the 1950s, Le Guin wrote five novels, four of which were set in the imaginary country of Orsinia, but she was unable to find a publisher willing to take a risk on her unusual style. She finally turned to the science fiction/fantasy genre in order to get into print. Her first sale was a time travel fantasy to Fantastic Stories and Imagination magazine. Le Guin noted that developing a science fiction style took time: she called her first published novels "fairy tales in space suits." These initial works are part of the "Hainish Cycle" and branch off from a central idea: that humanity came from the planet Hain, which colonized several other planets and eventually became separated by a galactic war. The cycle includes Rocannon's World, Planet of Exile, City of Illusions, The Left Hand of Darkness, The Dispossessed, The Word for World Is Forest, The Telling, and some short stories.

In the late 1960s, editor Herman Schein of Parnassus Press asked Le Guin to write a novel for eleven-to seventeen-year-olds. The result was the fantasy A Wizard of Earthsea. The book deals with the adventures of the apprentice sorcerer Ged. Critics praised the novel both for its story for and the complexity of Le Guin's created world, which consists of a chain of islands. Many compared Earthsea to J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth and C.S. Lewis's Narnia. In Horn Book, Eleanor Cameron wrote: "To me, it is as if Ursula Le Guin herself has lived on the Archipelago, minutely observing and noting down the habits and idiosyncrasies of the culture from island to island. ... Nothing has escaped the notice of her imagination's seeking eye."

Le Guin followed A Wizard of Earthsea with a darker novel set in the same world: The Tombs of Atuan. Tenar, its protagonist and her first major female character, is a young priestess who discovers Ged wandering through sacred places forbidden to anyone but the priestesses and their eunuchs. Tenar's life changes through this meeting; Le Guin once described the story as "a feminine coming of age." The Farthest Shore, for many years the last book of the series, "is about the thing you do not live through and survive," Le Guin continued. The plot concerns Ged as a mature wizard, who journeys with a young prince to the westernmost end of the world to discover why Earthsea is losing its magic. There, Ged meets his ultimate challenge. The Farthest Shore won the National Book Award for Children's Literature, and in the Dictionary of Literary Biography, Andrew Gordon called it "a novel of epic scope." Salon.com contributor Faith L. Justice noted of the "Earthsea" novels: "On the surface these are coming-of-age stories ... but Le Guin's artful storytelling and complex underlying themes elevate the works beyond mundane fantasy and the young-adult audience for which they are intended." The characters learn "the need for balance--light/dark, male/female, action/inaction," Justice commented.

In 1990, Le Guin published a new novel in the "Earthsea" series, the first Earthsea novel to appear in nearly twenty years. Tehanu: The Last Book of Earthsea deals less with the magic of wizards than the importance of everyday life. In the novel, Tenar, now a farmer's widow, finds a little girl who has been raped by her father and his friends and left to die. Tenar adopts the child and is eventually joined by Ged, who arrives drained of power and strength. The three form an unlikely family who battle an unexpected threat to Tenar's island home. " Tenahu is a book of great depth and subtlety, ... confronting and altering the bedrock values of the old high fantasy on which the first Earthsea books were based," observed Jill Paton Walsh in Twentieth-Century Young Adult Writers. "It rejects the male-gendered tales of heroism, and in their place builds on women's experiences as the benchmarks of virtue, courage, love. The damaged child is at the centre of the book, and the triumph over evil is hers."

Le Guin returned to the world of Earthsea with the story collection Tales from Earthsea and the novel The Other Wind. The former includes a tale of the origins of the magic school at which Ged studied, plus four other stories and a background essay on Earthsea. Tales from Earthsea "not only stands alone but also serves as an introduction to new readers," commented Jackie Cassada in Library Journal, and Chris Barsanti in Book praised the stories as "delightfully crafted mini epics." Though remarking that many years passed between titles in the series, Booklist contributor Sally Estes commented: "Le Guin hasn't lost her touch." In The Other Wind, a sorcerer's longing for his deceased wife starts to weaken the barrier between the living and the dead and causes other disruptions in Earthsea. "The first full-length Earthsea novel since Tehanu will leave its readers wanting yet another," praised Estes in Booklist. A Publishers Weekly reviewer noted that while in Tehanu, "Le Guin rethought the traditional connection between gender and magic," in The Other Wind "she reconsiders the relationship between magic and something even more basic: life and death itself."

Very Far Away from Anywhere Else is Le Guin's first non-fantasy young adult novel. It describes the deepening relationship between two extremely talented but lonely, nonconformist teenagers, Owen and Natalie. Their relationship is jeopardized when Owen makes sexual advances toward Natalie. "Le Guin's admirers have objected to the didactic tone of this book, which is undoubtedly present as it is in so many other adolescent novels," related Walsh. "But the rage which is palpable in the book--alongside a lot of human tenderness--is not really against the corrupting pressure on the young to advance too quickly into their sexual adulthood, rather it is against all the pressures by which individuals in their glorious oddity and variety are crushed into a few standard shapes by a society that hates nonconformity." The Beginning Place, written a few years later, is considered by some critics a more successful novel. It mixes fantasy and reality in the story of two young adults who, at different times, discover a strange world on the borders of their dull suburb. Gordon believed "the achievement of The Beginning Place is its vivid, detailed realism, which brings alive both the plastic suburb and the haunting twilight land and makes us believe in the possibility of crossing the threshold between the two."

In 2004, Le Guin began a trilogy of novels for young adults, "Chronicles of the Western Shore." The first book in the trilogy, Gifts, features sixteen-year-old Orrec and his best friend, Gry. The story is narrated by Orrec, who relates how Emmon, an escaped Lowlander, comes to see Orrec's father, Brantor. Orrec and Gry teach Emmon about the five families that comprise the Uplanders; each clan possesses a special gift that is passed down through the generations. Gry and her family can summon animals; Orrec and his family can kill living things with one look. Orrec feels that he can not control his gift, so he wears a blindfold rather than accidentally kill someone or something. Each new child in the family worries about failing to excel at their gift, or of being unable to use it. However, when Gry learns that she can train animals, she no longer wishes to use her gift of summoning, and she incurs her family's wrath for the infraction. Gry laments that the gifts are used mainly for death (she is supposed to call the animals to be hunted or slaughtered), and she wonders why the gifts can't be used for something more life affirming.

Critics applauded the novel, noting that it is a thoughtful and deep exploration of choice and its consequences, and of the responsibility one has for one's abilities. For instance, a Publishers Weekly writer stated: "This provocative novel may well prompt teens to examine their own talents, and to ask whether they simply accept those 'gifts' assigned to them by others or whether the 'gifts' are their true passions." Seconding this opinion, a Kirkus Reviews contributor called Gifts "a gripping tale about personal motivation, the consequences of choice and the corruption of power." Jennifer Mattson, writing in Booklist, declared that the novel "is a gift in the purest sense," adding that it is also "rich in ... earthy magic and intelligent plot twists." Kliatt critic Paula Rohrlick declared: "Le Guin is a wonderful writer, and this haunting, thought-provoking fantasy has the power of legend. Readers will ponder the nature of gifts and curses ... in this strange, vaguely medieval world." Bruce Anne Shook, reviewing the story in School Library Journal, found that it provides "a better understanding of the choices that all individuals must make if they are to realize their full potential."

Voices, the next novel in the "Chronicles of the Western Shore" trilogy, portrays seventeen-year-old Memer. Memer lives in a world where books are illegal, and to own them is to court the death penalty. Memer and Waylord nonetheless oversee an illicit library, and they are the vassals of an oracle who lives in the library. Orrec and Gry, who are now married, appear in the story. Soon the government is overthrown, bringing the illegal books back into mainstream society. The story also traces the war that took place when Memer was born, which brought about the evil illiterate empire, and it covers the revolution that finally overthrows the empire when Memer is on the cusp of adulthood. Other topics, such as the political alliances that grow in order to make the revolution possible, are also examined.

Critics were deeply impressed by the novel, stating that it draws notable parallels to modern-day issues in a unique way. School Library Journal critic Beth Wright commented that "Le Guin's superior narrative voice and storytelling power make even small moments ring with truth, and often with beauty." Another laudatory review was proffered by Teenreads.com Web site writer Patsy Side. She declared: "Le Guin has written a simple yet intelligent work of fiction for young adults. While based on events and some characters from Gifts, ... she slowly introduces a complex and riveting novel for interpretation." Side went on to note that "Voices is destined to become a classic." According to Strange Horizons Web site writer Lisa Goldstein, "Le Guin does something I wouldn't have thought possible: she takes nearly every trope of the fantasy genre and deliberately sets them aside. Vows are broken, what seems magic becomes mundane, the mundane reveals itself as magical. There are no simplistic battles between good and evil here, no magic spells generating greater and greater explosions until the author gets tired or runs out of imagination; the resolution is more subtle than that, and more complex." Indeed, she felt that the story "is wonderfully told, with surprises and revelations at every turn."

Powers, the third book in the trilogy, features fourteen-year-old Gavir (Gav), a highly intelligent slave. Gav attends school with the free children, and he also has a near-perfect memory, as well as occasional moments of clairvoyance. Gav is taught to uphold tradition and that to wish to be free is to undermine tradition, leading the way to social chaos. Yet, as he comes of age, Gav begins to doubt these teachings. When his sister is raped and killed by the one of the members of the royal family whom she and Gav serve, the boy escapes the only city he has ever known. Gav travels from village to village, discovering members of his tribe who have always lived free and are without his education. Gav even meets his aunt, who can also see the future. One of her prophecies about Gav comes true when he rescues a young girl from drowning. Gav and the girl then travel together to a free city devoted to learning.

Like the previous two books in the trilogy, Powers was met with rave reviews. For instance, Claire Rosser, writing in Kliatt, noted Le Guin's "powerful storytelling skills." She also stated that the book will cause "readers ... [to] think about what freedom means in a person's life and in a society, but mostly they will be thrilled by an outstanding story." Margaret A. Chang, writing in School Library Journal, was also impressed by the story. She commented: "Le Guin uses her own prodigious power as a writer to craft lyrical, precise sentences, evoking a palpable sense of place and believable characters." Commenting on the novel's place in the trilogy, a Kirkus Reviews contributor declared that Powers "complements" its predecessors "beautifully." Mattson, again writing in Booklist, found that "Le Guin's fans have ample reason to hope that the author may be building toward a fantasy cycle as ambitious in scope as her beloved chronicles of Earthsea." Horn Book critic Joanna Rudge Long commented that Le Guin "explores a rich complexity of hypothetical cultures that elicit new insights into our own."

In the late 1970s, Le Guin started working in a new genre: children's storybooks and picture books. Leese Webster relates the story of a talented spider. According to Gordon, "The story shows Le Guin's style ... at its best. ... The message is clear: it is a parable about the artist and her craft." A Visit from Dr. Katz is a picture book showing how a sick little girl is amused by two kittens. Fire and Stone tells about a dragon who eats stones instead of people, while in Fish Soup, two adults have differing visions of the perfect child--and see their fantasies become reality.

Catwings and its follow-ups, Catwings Return, Wonderful Alexander and the Catwings, and Jane on Her Own: A Catwings Tale, feature the adventures of several winged cats and are perhaps the best known of Le Guin's works for younger readers. In Catwings, four flying cats--Harriet, James, Thelma, and Roger--escape city dangers to live in the country, where they are adopted by two children. New York Times Book Review contributor Crescent Dragonwagon wrote that Le Guin's "dialogue, humor, skill as a storyteller, and emotional veracity combine near-flawlessly in a story that is both contemporary and timeless. ... Their collective winged adventures, their looking after one another, and the understated charm of Ms. Le Guin's writing keeps us captivated." The cats continue to have adventures in the next several books; in Jane on Her Own, Jane travels to the city in search of new experiences. When she is trapped by a man who wants to exploit her by putting her on television shows, Jane must find a way to escape. Carolyn Phelan and Jack Helbig, writing in Booklist, praised Le Guin's "consistently catlike point of view" in a story dealing with "loneliness, belonging, and freedom."

A Ride on the Red Mare's Back, a stand-alone book for younger children, looks at the issue of responsibility. In it, a young girl learns that her little brother has been taken by trolls, and she goes out alone to rescue him, taking only a toy red horse, a warm scarf, knitting needles and yarn, and a bit of bread. Once she locates the boy in the trolls' castle, she finds that he has changed: he now wants to become a troll. "The boy's desire is an old one," Michael Dirda explained in the Washington Post Book World: "Is it better to be a happy pig or an unhappy Socrates? Most of us don't get the chance to be quite either." Dirda concluded that the volume "is indisputably suspenseful, thought-provoking, and beautifully illustrated."

In Tom Mouse, a picture book published in 2002, Le Guin introduces her readers to a mouse who wants to see the world. The mouse--named Tom--leaves his family to travel across the country by train. When a businesswoman takes up residence in the sleeping car that Tom had had to himself, he hides from her. Gradually, however, Tom realizes that he has been discovered and that the woman sees him as a friend. Tom Mouse was called a "celebration of the open road and the kindness of strangers" by a contributor to Kirkus Reviews. Writing for Horn Book, Susan P. Bloom thought "this tale of comradeship between two otherwise lonely globetrotters has an inviting freshness in its quiet telling."

Reviewers have praised the variety, force, and depth that Le Guin brings to her writing for children and for adults. "Hers is certainly one of the most powerful talents ever exercised in writing for the young," Walsh remarked. Le Guin believes that children's imaginations need to be nourished, and that fantasy plays an important part in their development. Gordon quoted her as stating: "I believe that all the best faculties of a mature human being exist in the child, and that if these faculties are encouraged in youth they will act well and wisely in the adult."


Surname pronounced "luh- gwin"; born October 21, 1929, in Berkeley, CA; daughter of Alfred L. (an anthropologist) and Theodora Covel Brown (a writer) Kroeber; married Charles Alfred Le Guin (a historian), December 22, 1953; children: Elisabeth, Caroline, Theodore. Education: Radcliffe College, A.B., 1951; Columbia University, A.M., 1952. Memberships: Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Authors League of America, Writers Guild, PEN, Science Fiction Research Association, Science Fiction Writers Association, Science Fiction Poetry Association, Writers Guild West, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Amnesty International of the USA, Nature Conservancy, National Organization for Women, National Abortion Rights Action League, Phi Beta Kappa. Addresses: Home: Portland, OR. Office: P.O. Box 10541, Portland, OR 97296-0541. Agent: Virginia Kidd, P.O. Box 278, Milford, PA 18337; (dramatic agent) William Contardi, 244 Madison Ave., Penthouse L, New York, NY 10016.


National Fulbright fellowship, 1953; Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, 1968; Nebula Award nomination for best novelette, Science Fiction Writers of America (now Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America), 1969, for "Nine Lives"; Nebula Award and Hugo Award, International Science Fiction Association, both for best novel, 1970, for The Left Hand of Darkness; Nebula Award nomination, 1971, and Hugo Award nomination and Locus Award, both 1973, all for best novel, for The Lathe of Heaven; Newbery Silver Medal Award and finalist for National Book Award for Children's Literature, both 1972, for The Tombs of Atuan; Nebula Award nomination, 1972, and Hugo Award, 1973, both for best novella, for The Word for World Is Forest; National Book Award for Children's Books, 1973, for The Farthest Shore; Hugo Award for best short story, 1974, for "The Ones Who Walk away from Omelas"; American Library Association's Best Young Adult Books citation, 1974, Hugo Award, Nebula Award, and Jupiter Award, all for best novel, 1975, and Jules Verne Award, 1975, all for The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia; Nebula Award and Jupiter Award, both for best short story, 1975, for "The Day before the Revolution"; Nebula Award nomination for best novelette, 1975, for "The New Atlantis"; Nebula Award nomination for best novelette and Jupiter Award, both 1976, for "The Diary of the Rose"; Prix Lectures-Jeunesse, 1978, for Very Far Away from Anywhere Else; Gandalf Award (Grand Master of Fantasy) nomination, 1978; D.Litt., Bucknell University, 1978, and Lawrence University, 1979; Gandalf Award, 1979; Nebula Award nomination for best novelette, 1979, for "The Pathways of Desire"; D.H.L., Lewis and Clark College, 1983, and Occidental College, 1985; Locus Award, 1984, for The Compass Rose; American Book Award nomination, 1985, and Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize for Fiction, University of Rochester English Department and Writer's Workshop, 1986, both for Always Coming Home; Nebula Award nominations for best novelette, 1988, for Buffalo Gals, Won't You Come Out Tonight, and 1990, for "The Shobies' Story"; Hugo Award for best novelette, 1988, and World Fantasy Award for best novella, World Fantasy Convention, 1988, both for Buffalo Gals, Won't You Come out Tonight; Nebula Award for best novel, 1991, for Tehanu: The Last Book of Earthsea; Pulitzer Prize nomination, 1992, for Searoad: Chronicles of Klatsand; Nebula Award nomination for best novelette, 1994, and James Tiptree, Jr., Award, 1995, both for "The Matter of Seggri"; Nebula Award nomination for best novella, 1994, and Sturgeon Award, both for "Forgiveness Day"; Nebula Award for best novelette, 1996, for "Solitude"; Life Achievement Award, World Fantasy Convention, 1995; James Tiptree, Jr., Award, 1997, for "Mountain Ways"; Mythopoeic Fantasy Award, Adult Literature (finalist), World Fantasy Award in novel category, and Nebula Award nomination in novel category, all 2002, all for The Other Wind; Nebula Award Grand Master, 2002; PEN/Malamud Award for short fiction, 2002; Hugo Award nomination in best novelette category, Locus Award, and Asimov's Readers Award, all 2003, for "The Wild Girls"; Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement, Young Adult Library Services Association, 2004; May Hill Arbuthnot Lecturer, Association for Library Service to Children, 2004; Maxine Cushing Gray Fellowship for Writers for distinguished body of work, Washington Center for the Book, 2006. Honorary degrees from Bucknell University, Lawrence University, the University of Oregon, Western Oregon State College, Lewis & Clark College, Occidental College, Emory University, Kenyon College, and Portland State University.


Writer. Worked as a department secretary, Emory University, Atlanta, GA. Part-time instructor in French at Mercer University, Macon, GA, 1954-55, and University of Idaho, Moscow, 1956. Visiting lecturer and writer-in-residence at various locations, including Portland State University, University of California--San Diego, University of Reading (England), Kenyon College, Tulane University, and First Australian workshop in Speculative Fiction. Creative consultant for Public Broadcasting Service, for television production of The Lathe of Heaven, 1979.


* Rocannon's World (bound with The Kar-Chee Reign by Avram Davidson; also see below), Ace Books (New York, NY), 1966.
* Planet of Exile (bound with Mankind under the Lease by Thomas M. Disch; also see below), Ace Books (New York, NY), 1966.
* City of Illusions (also see below), Ace Books (New York, NY), 1967.
* The Left Hand of Darkness, Ace Books (New York, NY), 1969, with new afterword and appendixes by author, Walker (New York, NY), 1994.
* The Lathe of Heaven, Scribner (New York, NY), 1971, reprinted, Perennial Classics (New York, NY), 2003.
* The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia, Harper (New York, NY), 1974, reprinted, Perennial Classics (New York, NY), 2003.
* Three Hainish Novels (includes Rocannon's World, Planet of Exile, and City of Illusions; also see below), Doubleday (New York, NY), 1978.
* Malafrena, Putnam (New York, NY), 1979.
* The Visionary (bound with Wonders Hidden, by Scott R. Sanders), McGraw-Hill (New York, NY), 1984.
* Always Coming Home (includes tape cassette of "Music and Poetry of the Kesh"; also see below), music by Todd Barton, illustrated by Margaret Chodos, diagrams by George Hersh, Harper (New York, NY), 1985, published without cassette, Bantam (New York, NY), 1987.
* Worlds of Exile and Illusion (includes Rocannon's World, Planet of Exile, and City of Illusions), Orb (New York, NY), 1996.
* The Telling, Harcourt (New York, NY), 2000.
* Lavinia, Harcourt (New York, NY), 2008.


* The Wind's Twelve Quarters, Harper (New York, NY), 1975.
* Orsinian Tales, Harper (New York, NY), 1976.
* The Water Is Wide, Pendragon Press (Portland, OR), 1976.
* The Compass Rose, Harper (New York, NY), 1982.
* Buffalo Gals and Other Animal Presences (short stories and poems), Capra (Santa Barbara, CA), 1987.
* Searoad: Chronicles of Klatsand, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1991.
* The Ones Who Walk away from Omelas, Creative Education (Mankato, MN), 1993.
* A Fisherman of the Inland Sea: Science Fiction Stories, HarperPrism (New York, NY), 1994.
* Four Ways to Forgiveness (contains "Betrayals," "Forgiveness Day," "A Man of the People," and "A Woman's Liberation"), HarperPrism (New York, NY), 1995.
* Unlocking the Air: And Other Stories (contains "Standing Ground," "Poacher," "Half Past Four," and "Limberlost"), HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1996.
* The Birthday of the World and Other Stories, (contains "Coming of Age in Karhide," "The Matter of Seggri," "Unchosen Love," "Mountain Ways," "Solitude," "Old Music and the Slave Women," "The Birthday of the World," and "Paradises Lost"), HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2002.
* Changing Planes (contains "Sita Dulip's Method," "Porridge on Islac," "The Silence of the Asonu," "Feeling at Home with the Hennebet," "The Ire of the Veksi," "Seasons of the Ansarac," "Social Dreaming of the Frin," "The Royals of Hegn," "Woeful Tales from Mahigul," "Great Joy," "Wake Island," "The Nna Mmoy Language," "The Building," "The Fliers of Gy," "The Island of the Immortals," and "Confusions of Uñi"), Harcourt (New York, NY), 2003.


* Wild Angels (collection of early works), Capra (Santa Barbara, CA), 1974.
* (With mother, Theodora K. Quinn) Tillai and Tylissos, The Red Bull Press (Portland, OR), 1979.
* Torrey Pines Reserve (broadsheet), Lord John (Northridge, CA), 1980.
* Hard Words and Other Poems, Harper (New York, NY), 1981.
* (With Henk Pander) In the Red Zone, Lord John (Northridge, CA), 1983.
* Wild Oats and Fireweed, Harper (New York, NY), 1988.
* Blue Moon over Thurman Street, photographs by Roger Dorband, NewSage Press (Portland, OR), 1993.
* Buffalo Gals, Won't You Come Out Tonight, illustrated by Susan Seddon Boulet, Pomegranate Artbooks (San Francisco, CA), 1994.
* Going Out with Peacocks and Other Poems, HarperPerennial (New York, NY), 1994.
* (With Diana Bellessi) The Twins, the Dream: Two Voices/Las Gemelas, el Sueño: Dos Voces, Arte Público (Houston, TX), 1997.
* Sixty Odd: New Poems, Shambhala (Boston, MA), 1999.
* Incredible Good Fortune: New Poems, Shambhala (Boston, MA), 2007.


* Very Far Away from Anywhere Else, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1976, published as A Very Long Way from Anywhere Else, Gollancz (London, England), 1976.
* The Beginning Place, Harper (New York, NY), 1980, published as Threshold, Gollancz (London, England), 1980.
* The Eye of the Heron and Other Stories (includes novella originally published in collection Millennial Women; also see below), Harper (New York, NY), 1983.


* A Wizard of Earthsea (also see below), illustrated by Ruth Robbins, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 1968.
* The Tombs of Atuan (also see below), illustrated by Gall Garraty, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1970.
* The Farthest Shore (also see below), illustrated by Gall Garraty, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1972.
* Earthsea (includes A Wizard of Earthsea, The Tombs of Atuan, and The Farthest Shore), Gollancz (London, England), 1977, published as The Earthsea Trilogy, Penguin (London, England), 1979.
* Tehanu: The Last Book of Earthsea, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1990.
* Tales from Earthsea, Harcourt (New York, NY), 2001.
* The Other Wind, Harcourt (New York, NY), 2001.


* Gifts, Harcourt (New York, NY), 2004.
* Powers, Harcourt (New York, NY), 2007.
* Voices, Harcourt (New York, NY), 2008.


* Solomon Leviathan's Nine Hundred Thirty-first Trip around the World (originally published in collection Puffin's Pleasures; also see below), illustrated by Alicia Austin, Puffin Books (London, England), 1976, Cheap Street (New Castle, VA), 1983.
* Leese Webster, illustrated by James Brunsman, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1979.
* Adventures in Kroy, Cheap Street (New Castle, VA), 1982.
* The Adventures of Cobbler's Rune, illustrated by Alicia Austin, Cheap Street (New Castle, VA), 1983.
* A Visit from Dr. Katz (picture book), illustrated by Ann Barrow, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1988.
* Fire and Stone, illustrated by Laura Marshell, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1989.
* Fish Soup (picture book), illustrated by Patrick Wynne, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1992.
* A Ride on the Red Mare's Back (picture book), illustrated by Julie Downing, Orchard Books (New York, NY), 1992.
* Tom Mouse, illustrated by Julie Downing, Roaring Brook Press (Brookfield, CT), 2002.


* Catwings, illustrated by S.D. Schindler, Orchard Books (New York, NY), 1988.
* Catwings Return, illustrated by S.D. Schindler, Orchard Books (New York, NY), 1989.
* Wonderful Alexander and the Catwings, illustrated by S.D. Schindler, Orchard Books (New York, NY), 1994.
* Jane on Her Own: A Catwings Tale, illustrated by S.D. Schindler, Orchard Books (New York, NY), 1999.


* From Elfland to Poughkeepsie (lecture), Pendragon Press (Portland, OR), 1973.
* Ursula K. Le Guin Lectures on Writing for Children (sound recording), 1974.
* Dreams Must Explain Themselves (critical essays), Algol Press (New York, NY), 1975.
* The Word for World Is Forest (novella; originally published in collection Again, Dangerous Visions; also see below), Berkley (New York, NY), 1976.
* The Language of the Night: Essays on Fantasy and Science Fiction, edited by Susan Wood, Putnam (New York, NY), 1978, revised edition edited by Le Guin, Women's Press (London, England), 1989.
* (Author of text) Wild Angels of the Open Hills (songs), Cri (New York, NY), 1983.
* (Author of text) Lockerbones/Airbones: For Mezzo Soprano, Flute, Violin, Piano, and Percussion (musical scores), Fallen Leaf Press (Berkeley, CA), 1985.
* King Dog: A Screenplay (bound with Dostoevsky: A Screenplay, by Raymond Carver and Tess Gallagher), Capra (Santa Barbara, CA), 1985.
* (With Todd Barton) Music and Poetry of the Kesh (cassette), Valley Productions (Ashland, OR), 1985.
* (With David Bedford) Rigel Nine: An Audio Opera, Charisma (London, England), 1985.
* Dancing at the Edge of the World: Thoughts on Words, Women, Places (essays), Grove (New York, NY), 1989.
* The Way of the Waters Going: Images of the Northern California Coastal Range, photographs by Ernest Waugh and Alan Nicolson, Harper (New York, NY), 1989.
* Myth and Archetype in Science Fiction, Pulphouse (Eugene, OR), 1991.
* Talk about Writing, Pulphouse (Eugene, OR), 1991.
* (With Angelica Gorodischer) Escritoras y Escritura, Feminaria Editora (Buenos Aires, Argentina), 1992.
* (Author of text) Island Earth (musical score), MMB Music (Saint Louis, MO), 1993.
* Earthsea Revisioned (lecture), Children's Literature New England (Cambridge, MA), 1993.
* (Author of text) Eating with the Hoi (musical score), 1994.
* (Author of text) Uses of Music in Uttermost Parts (music sound recording; for chorus and orchestra), music by Elinor Armer, Koch International (Port Washington, NY), 1995.
* (Author of text) The Seasons of Oling: For Narrator, Viola, Cello, Piano, Percussion (One Player) (musical score), Overland Music Distributors (Albany, CA), 1995.
* Steering the Craft: Exercises and Discussions on Story Writing for the Lone Navigator or the Mutinous Crew, Eighth Mountain Press (Portland, OR), 1998.
* The Wave in the Mind: Talks and Essays on the Reader, and the Imagination, Shambhala (Boston, MA), 2004.


* (With J.P. Seaton) Lao Tzu: Tao Te Ching: A Book about the Way and the Power of the Way, Shambhala (Boston, MA), 1997.
* Gabriela Mistral, Gabriela Mistral: Selected Poems, University of New Mexico Press (Albuquerque, NM), 2003.
* Angelica Gorodischer, Kalpa Imperial: The Greatest Empire That Never Was, Small Beer Press (Northampton, MA), 2003.


* Nebula Award Stories 11, Gollancz (London, England), 1976, Harper (New York, NY), 1977.
* (With Virginia Kidd) Interfaces: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction, Ace Books (New York, NY), 1980.
* (With Virginia Kidd) Edges: Thirteen New Tales from the Borderlands of the Imagination, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1980.
* (With Brian Attebery) The Norton Book of Science Fiction: North American Science Fiction, 1960-1990, Norton (New York, NY), 1993.
* H.G. Wells, Selected Stories of H.G. Wells, Modern Library (New York, NY), 2004.

Contributor to anthologies, including Orbit 5, 1969; Orbit 6, 1970; Best SF: 1969, 1970; World's Best Science Fiction, 1970; Those Who Can, 1970; Nebula Award Stories 5, 1970; Quark 1, 1970; The Dead Astronaut, 1971; New Dimensions I, 1972; Clarion II, 1972; Again, Dangerous Visions, Volume 1, 1972; The Best from Playboy, number 7, 1973; New Dimensions III, 1973; Clarion III, 1973; Universe 5, 1974; The Best from Galaxy, Volume 2, 1974, Volume 3, 1975; Dream Trips, 1974; Orbit 14, 1974; Epoch, 1975; Nebula Award Stories 10, 1975; The New Atlantis and Other Novellas of Science Fiction, 1975; The Thorny Paradise, 1975; Bitches and Sad Ladies, 1975; More Women of Wonder, 1976; The Best Science Fiction of the Year 5, 1976; Science Fiction at Large, 1976, 1977; Future Power, 1976; Puffin's Pleasure, 1976; Best Science Fiction Stories of the Year, Sixth Annual Collection, 1977; Psy Fi One, 1977; The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction, 1978; The Altered I: An Encounter with Science Fiction, 1978; Millennial Women, 1978; Cassandra Rising, 1978; and Dark Imaginings, 1978. Author of postcard short story, Post Card Partnership, 1975, and Sword & Sorcery Annual, 1975.

Contributor of short stories, novellas, essays, and reviews to numerous science fiction, scholarly, and popular periodicals, including Science Fiction Studies, New Yorker, Antaeus, Parabola, New Republic, Redbook, Playgirl, Playboy, New Yorker, Yale Review, and Omni. Author of abridged version of The Left Hand of Darkness, for Warner Audio, 1985. Le Guin recorded Gwilan's Harp and Intracom for Caedmon, 1977, The Ones Who Walk away from Omelas and Other Stories and The Lathe of Heaven for Alternate World, 1976, and The Left Hand of Darkness for Warner Audio.


The Lathe of Heaven was adapted by Diane English and Roger Swaybill into a film directed by Fred Barzyk and David R. Loxton and televised by Public Broadcasting Service, 1979. A new version, with screenplay by Alan Sharp and direction by Philip Haas, was produced by the A&E Television Network. The "Earthsea" books were adapted by Gavin Scott into a miniseries epic, produced by Hallmark Entertainment for the Sci Fi Channel, 2004. The Tombs of Atuan was adapted as a filmstrip with record or audiocassette by Newbery Award Records, 1980; "The Ones Who Walk away from Omelas" was performed as a drama with dance and music at the Portland Civic Theatre, 1981. A Wizard of Earthsea, The Tombs of Atuan, The Farthest Shore, and The Beginning Place were made into sound recordings, 1992. The books from Le Guin's Earthsea series were adapted as a miniseries for the Sci Fi Channel directed by Robert Lieberman, 2004.

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