The groundbreaking and transgender writings of acclaimed author Ursula K. Le Guin, whose novels and short stories have increased appreciation for science fiction and fantasy, are celebrated with a new Forever stamp – the 33rd of the Postal Service Literary Arts series. The stamp was unveiled in a ceremony today at the Portland Art Museum.
As an author, Le Guin was interested in more than science fiction, and his prescient writings are now considered more than fantasy.
“Ursula once said she wanted to see science fiction break through the old walls of convention and knock right into the next wall — and start breaking it down, too,” said Joseph Corbett, CFO and Executive Vice President. of the United States Postal Service, who served as the official dedicating officer for the stamp ceremony. “She felt that the ideas represented in her fiction could help people become aware of other ways of doing things, other ways of being, and help people awaken.”
Joining Corbett for the ceremony were India Downes-Le Guin, granddaughter of Ursula K. Le Guin; Linda Long, University of Oregon Libraries; Amy Wang, columnist, The Oregonian; and Martha Ullman West, arts writer.
The stamp features a portrait of Le Guin based on a 2006 photograph with a background that references the wintry world and characters she created in “The Left Hand of Darkness.” Designed by Donato Gionacola, with Antonio Alcalá as artistic director, Le Guin’s name appears at the bottom of the stamp. The words “USA” and “THREE OUNCE” are printed vertically on the left side.
These Forever stamps will always have a value equal to the current price of 3 ounces of first class mail. The Ursula K. Le Guin stamp news is shared with the hashtag #UrsulaKLeGuinStamp.
Born in Berkeley, California, in 1929, Ursula Kroeber Le Guin was deeply interested in Native American cultures from an early age. It was a fascination that would inform his later work. After graduating from Radcliffe College in 1951 and earning a master’s degree from Columbia University in 1952, she began to explore the potential of science fiction and fantasy in the early 1960s, publishing her first novel, “Rocannon’s World”, in 1966. The novel weaves together elements of fantasy and science fiction – and inspired two sequels – while setting the stage for many subsequent novels and stories.
Le Guin’s writings were clearly ahead of his time. In 1969, she published “The Left Hand of Darkness”, a novel about an Earthling diplomat named Genly Ai, who travels to a winter planet where two nations are on the brink of war – and the inhabitants have no fixed sex most of the time. time. The book, which won Hugo and Nebula awards in science fiction and fantasy, broke new ground and has often been hailed as the novel that permanently raised literary expectations for science fiction.
In addition to novels and fiction that have garnered him dozens of literary awards and legions of avid readers, Le Guin has also published volumes of poetry, written realistic stories about small-town Oregon life, and started a blog at age 81 that became the 2017 collection of essays, “No Time to Spare: Thinking About What Matters.” She has also published a translation of the classic Chinese philosophical and religious text, Tao Te Ching, the result of 40 years of Taoist reading and reflection.
Le Guin is credited with championing the literary and artistic value of science fiction and fantasy, as well as encouraging more women to write and read fiction in both genres. At the same time, she inspired many readers and writers of color by placing non-white characters at the center of her work and by addressing issues of racial injustice and colonialism in nuanced ways. Through lifelong interests in mythology, anthropology, feminism, and Taoism, as well as through her far-reaching translations, essays, poetry, and nonfiction, Le Guin demonstrated that no writer needed to be constrained by the boundaries of a genre.