It is with great sadness that the Authors Guild mourns the passing of long-time member and supporter Ursula K. Le Guin, who died today at her home in Portland, Oregon. Le Guin was best known for her feminist-minded science fiction and fantasy, but was prolific across other genres. She authored more than 20 novels, a dozen books of poetry, 100 short stories, seven collections of essays, 13 books for children and five volumes of translation, and a writers guide, Steering the Craft. She published throughout her life with two books coming out in the last two years. She was an active member of the Guild since 1993 – with a brief hiatus in protest to the Google Books Settlement. She rejoined when I emailed her in 2014 and could be counted on to write to us to report any unfair treatment she saw in the publishing industry. Just a few months ago she passionately urged us to take on the The New York Times and other newspapers about their policy insisting on taking perpetual copyright ownership for freelance articles and even op eds (which we did unsuccessfully – their lawyers spoke to us and insisted that the policy is in an integral part of their business and they could not change it). She was feisty, charming and always a delight. On a personal note, I am particularly sad that I did not yet tell her how much I enjoyed reading her recent essay collection No Time to Spare just a couple weeks ago, and what a salve it was to me at a time my family and I are struggling with my aging parents’ health crises. She did not suffer fools lightly, much less false notions about aging and death, and I can imagine her making wisecracks about both right up to the end.
Authors Guild Executive Director