Ursula K. Le Guin celebrates her 87th birthday today! Best known for her novel The Left Hand of Darkness and her Earthsea Cycle Series, Le Guin has been promoting and defending speculative fiction since the 1960s. No on knows better than she that realism holds the literary currency in our current climate, though her work has become an exception to the rule. This month, she became one of two living novelists to be published by the Library of America for her work The Complete Orsinia. But for Le Guin, speculative fiction writers are “writers of the imagination”. We are “realists of a different reality.” And we are needed. We are the ones to envision change, to uphold writing as an art form that is transformative and beyond greed and profit. Listen to more thoughts from her acceptance speech of the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters (2014).
In celebration of Le Guin’s birthday, write something for yourself today. Write some fan fiction. Write that speculative piece you worry no one will publish. Today, write something that brings you joy and reminds you why speculative fiction is a freeing force.