Isn’t that “Le WIN”?

Happy Birthday Ursula K. Le Guin!

Today in Le Guin’s honor, people are blogging birthday wishes to her and discussing her work.

Glitter Words

Here’s a starting point for today’s wishes and thoughts for her:

* Happy Birthday from Feminist SF: The Blog
* Happy Birthday from Aqueduct Press!
* Happy Birthday from Finding Dulcinea
* Happy Birthday from the SFWA
* Interview with Guernica magazine (not a birthday tribute, but good)

From the interview with Guernica, on writing as a woman and on feminism:

There wasn’t any aha! moment about feminism for me. I just kept reading stuff and thinking. My mind works slowly and obscurely, and I mostly find out what I’m doing by looking at what I’m doing or have done. Mostly I don’t even do that. But when what I do isn’t getting done very well, when it seems to be stuck or going wrong, that induces me to look at it. ‘What am I doing? Why isn’t it behaving?’ This happened in the middle of The Eye of the Heron, when Lev insisted on getting himself killed in the middle of the story, leaving my book without a hero, and me wondering what the hell? It took a good deal of backing up and pondering over what I had written to realize that Luz had been the hero all along, that Luz was the one who would lead her people into the wilderness. I can identify that as the moment when I consciously shifted from a male protagonist to a female protagonist, when the male was marginalized and the woman became the center.


Photo: Geeks at WisCon beaming with happiness after singing a song to Ursula in her honor.
"we sang our song to ursula!!!"

Please add more links and birthday wishes in comments!

Alongside the great storytelling and stimulating ideas in her fiction, the breadth and depth of the body of her work is inspiring. Her creative work spans many years and many literary forms. She’s a translator, a teacher, a scholar and intellectual, respected all over the world.

Books by Ursula K. Le Guin

What is your favorite of her books?

What has Le Guin’s work meant to you over the course of your life?

Was she, or was her work, a touchstone for you as a geek feminist?

13 thoughts on “Isn’t that “Le WIN”?

  1. Magnetic Crow

    Online Literary Magazine ‘Fantasy Magazine’ is wishing her a happy birthday too :)
    LeGuin has been so incredibly inspiring to me… I picked up ‘A Wizard of Earthsea’ when I was 7, and that was really the beginning for me. As a reader, as a geek, as an aspirant fantasy artist. Over the years, I have read and been moved by many of the works from her outstanding oeuvre. Still, it’s hard not to dwell on how her work really jumpstarted my life.

  2. Dorothea Salo

    If I try to articulate everything that LeGuin’s books have made me think about, I would simply wind up flailing uselessly.

    So let’s leave it at this: Tehanu is my favorite travel book. “On the High Marsh” is so perfect and so beautiful — particularly its last three or four paragraphs — that it makes me cry. I am deeply fond of the sly subversion in “Sur” and “The Pathways of Desire.” Live readings of “Intracom” leave me helpless with laughter. And as a sometime serious student of linguistics, I appreciate LeGuin’s steady, thoughtful regard for the underpinnings of human language.

    Er. That was useless flailing, wasn’t it? Oh, well. Happy Birthday, Ursula K. LeGuin!

  3. Jokerine

    My ninthgrad High School teacher gave us The Wizard of Earthsea to read, needless to say we did not discuss Geds assumed skincolor and the one in the book and that the coverpicture was a bad reflection of the description. I bought the other two soon after and a few month later The Dispossessed, which is my favorite LeGuin book. It has greatly shaped the way I view my wants and needs and what I want from politics. I have read it about a gazillion times. And my Laptop is named Shevek.

    Happy Birthday Ursula, you are an inspiration to many.

  4. Mary

    I was inclined to say that the books closest to my heart (The Dispossessed, The Left Hand of Darkness) have informed my citizenship more than my geek feminism, but one is part of the other.

    The Earthsea novels don’t mean as much to me emotionally, but I wouldn’t want to live in the world where there’s never been stories about Ged, Tenar, Irian and Azver.

  5. textjunkie

    I was never really an Earthsea fan (came to them too late, I think), but Le Guin is one of my top favorite writers of all time. Left Hand of Darkness was amazing, and all of the Hainish novels are incredible! I’m not sure I can say she inspired me as a geek femininist in any way, but as a writer I *wish* I had half her brilliance.

  6. fannie

    Hello, just discovered this amazing blog and was pleased to see an article about one of my favorite authors. I really like The Left Hand of Darkness and, most recently, read The Birthday of the World. Le Guin definitely inspired my geekiness as she was the first sci fi author I read where I learned that sci fi didn’t have to always be about doods.

  7. rivenwanderer

    Not a super well-known book of hers, but Very Far Away From Anywhere Else was a huge sanity boost during high school–a book about nerds! talking about life! and also probably the reason I went to MIT. So even if she hadn’t written many other lovely and important books (of which I’ve read many, but look forward to reading more), I can look to that single book of hers as one of the pivot points of my life so far. (Hm, I should reread it again. I guess I’m afraid that it’ll feel less important now that I’m out of my adolescence.)

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