TODAY one of the most innovative and intriguing writers in the english language marks her 80th birthday. there aren't many novelists who i enjoy as much today as i did when i was in elementary school; ursula le guin is one of them.
here is the recent LA Times piece i wrote on her after visiting her in portland and re-immersing myself in her body of work and the debates around it. she was a very sharp, wide-ranging conversationalist i wish i could have spent more time with.
and here is a guardian piece in which i discuss her role (alongside berkeley high classmate philip k. dick, among others) in leading my generation of novelists away from realism.
le guin is best known for her "earthsea" books, which are inspired by tolkien and carl jung and in turn inspired the harry potter novels. her two consensus science-fiction masterpieces are "the left hand of darkness" and "the dispossessed," which grow in rereading. but her last novel, "lavinia," which pursues a minor character from virgil's "aeniad," is wonderful as well.
(here is a birthday note from the SFWA, and a characteristically wry note from sf writer robert silverberg.)
looking forward to many more years of productivity from this american original.