The Books of Earthsea, Ursula K. Le Guin

Gollancz to publish Ursula Le Guin’s Books of Earthsea, illustrated by Charles Vess

Leading genre publisher Gollancz is delighted to announce the publication of The Books of Earthsea: The Complete Illustrated Edition by Ursula K. Le Guin and illustrated by Charles Vess. Gollancz Assistant Editor, Craig Leyenaar, acquired the rights to The Books of Earthsea from Susan Smith at MBA on behalf of Ginger Clark at Curtis Brown Ltd and the illustrations from Heather Baror at Baror International on behalf of Barry Goldblatt at Barry Goldblatt Literary.

The Books of Earthsea is the culmination of over four years’ collaboration between the author and artist. This definitive collection of Earthsea stories includes the last story of Ged, ‘Firelight’, which Ursula K. Le Guin wrote shortly before her death in January 2018. The Books of Earthsea contains all five novels, short stories, maps and the essay: ‘Earthsea Revisioned: A Lecture at Oxford University’, along with 56 illustrations by Charles Vess, including seven lavishly coloured plate sections, and will come in at over 1000 pages.

Theo Downes-Le Guin, her son and literary executor, said: ‘A complete Earthsea was not possible until last year, when my mother wrote a final story, “Firelight”. For decades, Earthsea was a growing, changing world, complete but unfinished. After a long hiatus following the first three novels, no one seemed more surprised than my mother when a new Earthsea book sprang into being. Like her imagination, Earthsea proved irrepressible, a durable reflection of her interests and evolution as an artist.

Illustrated editions presented a fraught opportunity for my mother. She loved illustrated books, several of which had a profound effect on her as a child reader. As well, she loved collaborating with artists of a different medium. She recognized, however, that illustrations can impose themselves on readers, supplanting our minds’ eyes. In Charles Vess, she found an artist who (like herself) is capable of providing us ideas without prescription, of leading us forward, then giving us a little shove to walk the rest of the path on our own.’

Craig Leyenaar said: ‘The Books of Earthsea is the loving culmination of decades of imagination and work by one of the world’s foremost authors. I am a long-time admirer of both Ursula and Charles and so to be involved in publishing this vision of Earthsea is an honour. Earthsea has meant so much to so many people, and to finally do it justice like this is a true wonder.’

Ginger Clark said: ‘Ursula was skeptical about doing an Illustrated edition of Earthsea for good reason. Over the years, illustrators and design departments had ignored her advice and counsel, to their own detriment. But Charles Vess has done a fabulous job. He did the one thing she always hoped for – he listened to her. It breaks my heart a bit that she is not here to see this final edition. I know she would be so very pleased.’


25 OCTOBER 2018

Hardcover £35.00 | eBook £35.00

Ursula K. Le Guin is one of the finest writers of our time. Her books have attracted millions of devoted readers and won many awards, including the National Book Award, the Hugo and Nebula Awards and a Newbery Honor. Among her novels, The Left Hand of Darkness, The Dispossessed and the six books of Earthsea have attained undisputed classic status; and her recent series, the Annals of the Western Shore, has won her the PEN Center USA Children’s literature award and the Nebula Award for best novel. In 2014 Ursula Le Guin was awarded the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.  She lived in Portland, Oregon, until she passed away in January 2018.



Welcome to Earthsea.

It’s magical.

‘There’s no one like her’

Zadie Smith

‘Her work deepened, expanded and challenged

my expectations of literature, awed me

with the power of an unfettered imagination’

Michael Chabon

‘This was a magic of words,

a magic of true speaking’

Neil Gaiman

‘Like nearly any other reader of my generation,

I was awed by early encounters with

Ursula Le Guin’s writing’

Jonathan Lethem

‘One of the great American writers

and a visionary artist whose work will long endure’

Joyce Carol Oates

‘A writer of intense ethical seriousness and

intelligence, of wit and fury, of radical politics,

of subtlety, of freedom and yearning,

Le Guin was a literary colossus’

China Miéville


The Books of Earthsea: Complete Illustrated Edition

By Ursula Le Guin Illustrated by Charles Vess

Fifty years ago, science fiction author Ursula K. Le Guin released A Wizard of Earthsea,

the first installment of a well-lauded and influential fantasy series. Sadly, Le Guin passed away

in January, but very soon one of her final projects will be released.

A collected edition of her Earthsea works featuring nearly 60 illustrations by fantasy artist Charles Vess.

Now for the first  time ever, all together in one volume, The Books of Earthsea,

contains the early short stories, Le Guin’s ‘Earthsea Revisioned’ Oxford lecture,

and new  Earthsea stories, never before printed.

With a new introduction by  Le Guin herself,

this essential edition will also include over fifty  illustrations by

renowned artist Charles Vess, specially commissioned and selected by Le Guin,

to bring her refined vision of Earthsea and its  people to life in a totally new way.


It will also contain ‘Firelight’ – the last story of Ged,

written by Ursula in the last months of her life.

Poetic and poignant, there could be no more

perfect end to the Earthsea stories


– 1,008 pages

– 56 illustrations (including seven lavishly coloured plate sections)

– maps of Earthsea

– stunningly beautiful endpapers

– Six novels

– 4 short stories

– An essay

There is nothing else like it.



25th OCTOBER 2018