24 January 2018

Ursula LeGuin

I've just been told by a friend that Ursula LeGuin has died, aged 88. The closest thing I have to a hero, her writing, and example, have been a huge influence on me all my life, starting in my teens, and continuing to the present moment, (I was only reading one of her essays 'Cosmic Crone' the other day). On my shelf is the second of her Earthsea books, ready for a friend's young son. I have delayed giving it him as I planned to read it first... I even carved a yew-staff when I was 15, so that I could be like Ged, the wizard.

She was a superb mixture of feminist, Taoist and anarchist - ah, I hope I can walk just a few steps in that same oblique omnidirection. She was for me, both the epitome of a great artist and a real human being. It is time to reread the Hainish Cycle again, I think, and to finish the last few books I had not yet read. The BBC produced a great radio version of her award-winning 'The Left Hand of Darkness' a few years ago. Perhaps that will be available online again. Seek it out. A few recommendations for her books will follow from me, when the sad news is a little less new.

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