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Ursula K. Le Guin on the Art of Words vs. the Business of Books

Remembering wise words from a master and champion of the craft.

Submitted by Tyee Staff, 14 Feb 2018

 

American writer Ursula K. Le Guin died last month. She’s well known for her works of science-fiction and fantasy, but also for sharing candid thoughts about the publishing industry. She called sales departments “commodity profiteers” that try to sell writers “like deodorant, and tell us what to publish, what to write.”

In 2014, Le Guin won the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.

Above is Le Guin’s passionate speech from the ceremony, a perfect capsule of her views on writing: “We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable. So did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings. Resistance and change often begin in art, and very often in our art, the art of words.”

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