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Ursula K. Le Guin has won or been nominated for over 200 awards for her fiction, including the Hugo, Nebula, World Fantasy and SFWA Grand Master Awards. She is the acclaimed author of the Earthsea sequence and The Left Hand of Darkness – which alone would qualify her for literary immortality – as well as a remarkable body of short fiction, including the powerful, Hugo-winning ‘The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas’ and the masterpiece of anthropological and environmental SF ‘The Word for World is Forest’ – winner of the Hugo Award for best novella.
But Ursula Le Guin’s talents do not stop at fiction. Over the course of her extraordinary career, she has penned numerous essays around themes important to her: anthropology, environmentalism, feminism, social justice and literary criticism to name a few. She has responded in detail to criticism of her own work and even reassessed that work in the context of such critiques. This selection of the best of Le Guin’s non-fiction shows an agile mind, an unparalleled imagination and a ferocious passion to argue against injustice.
In 2014 Ursula Le Guin was awarded the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, and her widely praised acceptance speech is one of the highlights of this volume, which shows that one of modern literature’s most original voices is also one of its purest consciences.
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It's a perfect way to remember Le Guin: like her, it's forthright, nuanced and above all - wise.
Nic Clarke, SFX
Lit up throughout by vibrant and vital prose, it's a cumulative tour de force that deserves , and rewards, careful study...To fully appreciate the brilliance of her canon of work means paying equal attention to her talents as a perceptive social commentator and political observer, with a catalogue of committed non-fiction to her credit. It's a reputation that the publication of this welcome collection should do much to confirm.
Rich Cross, STARBURST
By turns sharp, funny and insightful, high-minded but never mean-spirited, the book embodies its author's lifelong quest for freedom: freedom as a woman, freedom to write what she pleased, freedom to like what she liked. Genre fiction - and literature in general - has lost not just one of its brightest exponents but one of its bolshiest champions.
James Lovegrove, FINANCIAL TIMES
Characteristically straight-talking and unpretentious, Le Guin first introduces the book as a "carrier bag full of ideas and responses, thoughts and rethinkings". Then moving swiftly from the ordinary to the magical in under half a page she ends by hoping "that readers wandering in this garden of forking paths will find themselves in a rose plot or a bed of mandrake-root or a small grove of mallorns or sequoias where they feel at home"
Ruth Scurr, THE GUARDIAN
Unsurprisingly, given her groundbreaking fiction, this collection exposes Le Guin's contantly whip-smart intellect, her wide-ranging interests and a treatment of her varied subject matter that is at different times both deeply profound and enjoyably playful...Whether she's writing about Star Wars or Borges, about the nature of beauty or heroes or princesses or utopias, the picture painted is of an endlessly engaged and inquisitive mind, and a restless intelligence that it is a joy to spend time with.
Doug Johnstone, THE BIG ISSUE
An excellent collection of non-fiction writing by the recently deceased Ursula Le Guin
Even in death, it seems, Le Guin is one of the singular speculative voices of our future, thanks to her knack for anticipating issues of seminal importance to society.