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Ursula K. Le Guin: Conversations on Writing Hardcover – April 3, 2018
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"Candid and perceptive last words by a treasured writer."
"An enlightening conversation about the writing process. Both authors adopt the tone of artisans discussing their craft, and each’s delight at debating with a like-minded professional is evident throughout. . . [Le Guin's] expansive knowledge of the SF genre provides, most strikingly, a sharp perspective on how its female practitioners have too often been forgotten in favor of their male contemporaries. Her rapport with Naimon results in an exchange that is both informative and charming."
― Publishers Weekly
"Fueled by Naimon's incisive questions and peppered with excerpts from Le Guin's books, these wide-ranging interviews are a treat for both longtime fans and newcomers to her work."
― Shelf Awareness
"In this small, beautifully crafted book, the conversations range from style to point of view to genre to why we should use 'they' as singular. . . . Together, Le Guin and Naimon demonstrate engagement at its finest."
― World Literature Today
"For nuggets of fiery wisdom and plunges into literary form and purpose from the late, great Ursula K. Le Guin, look to Tin House’s newly published Conversations on Writing."
― Portland Monthly
About the Author
Ursula K. Le Guin has published twenty-one novels, eleven volumes of short stories, four collections of essays, twelve books for children, six volumes of poetry and four of translation, and has received the Hugo, Nebula, Endeavor, Locus, Tiptree, Sturgeon, PEN-Malamud, and National Book Award and the Pushcart and Janet Heidinger Kafka prizes, among others.In recent years she has received lifetime achievement awards from the World Fantasy Awards, Los Angeles Times, Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association, and Willamette Writers, as well as the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Grand Master Award, the Library of Congress “Living Legends” award, and the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. Le Guin was the recipient of the Association for Library Service to Children’s May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Award and the Margaret Edwards Award. She lives in Portland, Oregon, and her website is ursulakleguin.com.
David Naimon is a writer and host of the radio show and podcast Between The Covers in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Tin House, AGNI, Fourth Genre, Boulevard, ZYZZYVA, and elsewhere. His writing has been reprinted in The Best Small Fictions 2016 and cited in the 2016 Pushcart Prize volume, The Best American Essays 2015, and The Best American Travel Writing 2015. His podcast and writing can be found at: www.davidnaimon.com
- Publisher : Tin House Books; 1st Edition (April 3, 2018)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 150 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1941040993
- ISBN-13 : 978-1941040997
- Item Weight : 10.4 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.6 x 0.7 x 7.3 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #143,792 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the authors
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So, if you love Le Guin, get this book. But if you're not particularly interested in knowing more about her, you might was to skip this one.
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Le Guin discusses her views on science fiction, and why so many look down on it as a genre for children. She bemoans the patriarchies that give male writers a place in the canon while denying it to women writers of equal or superior talent. She talks about the importance of grammar and sentence structure to her work, the influence of Asian writers on her ideas.
Perhaps most refreshing is the honesty with which le Guin criticises her industry, the authors that it represents and the systems that support (or fail to support) it. She is deeply critical of the way in which publishing and particularly Google and Amazon force authors towards a particular banal style. She criticises the lazy use of present tense and first person where it serves no purpose, and bemoans attitudes that dismiss fantasy, fairy tales, or animal stories as for children only. The death of imagination, perhaps, the assumption that all work can be reduced to 'what the author is trying to say', as though metaphor can only serve as a direct procedural representation of the real world, is the theme that runs throughout the conversation. I'll leave with a quote that captures that:
"In America the imagination is generally looked on as something that might be useful when the TV is out of order. Poetry and plays have no relation to practical politics. Novels are for students, housewives, and other people who don't work. Fantasy is for children and primitive peoples. Literacy is so you can read the operating instructions. I think the imagination is the single most useful tool mankind possesses. It beats the opposable thumb. I can imagine living without my thumbs, but not without my imagination."