Monday, May 4, 2009

Le Guin Wins Another Nebula Award

Portland's own treasure, Ursula K. Le Guin, was awarded a Nebula Award for best novel of 2008 on Saturday, April 25th, for the book Powers, the third book of The Annals of the Western Shore saga (following Gifts, Voices). The Nebula Awards® are annual awards presented by Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America to celebrate excellence in science fiction and fantasy writing.

In Powers, a young slave named Gav finds that he has amazing powers of recollection: he can remember a page of text after seeing it only once, and sometimes, he can even "remember" things that haven't happened yet. Gav's world is turned brutally upside-down when his sister is killed by a member of the household he has been taught to trust, and, blinded by sorrow, he runs away from the only world he has ever known, embarking on a journey of transformation and discovery.

Ursula Kroeber was born in 1929 in Berkeley, California, where she grew up. She went to Radcliffe College and did graduate work at Columbia University. She married Charles A. Le Guin, a historian, in Paris in 1953; they have lived in Portland, Oregon, since 1958. Ursula K. Le Guin writes both poetry and prose, and in various modes including realistic fiction, science fiction, fantasy, young children's books, books for young adults, screenplays, essays, verbal texts for musicians, and voicetexts. She has published seven books of poetry, twenty-two novels, more than a hundred short stories (collected in eleven volumes), four collections of essays, twelve books for children, and four volumes of translation. Few American writers have done work of such high quality in so many forms.

Most of Le Guin's major titles have remained continuously in print, some for more forty years. Her best known fantasy works, the six Books of Earthsea, have sold millions of copies in America and England, and have been translated into sixteen languages. Her first major work of science fiction, The Left Hand of Darkness, is considered epoch-making in the field for its radical investigation of gender roles and its moral and literary complexity. Her novels The Dispossessed and Always Coming Home redefine the scope and style of utopian fiction, while the realistic stories of a small Oregon beach town in Searoad show her permanent sympathy with the ordinary griefs of ordinary people.

Three of Le Guin's books have been finalists for the American Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize, and among the many honors her writing has received are a National Book Award, five Hugo Awards, five Nebula Awards, SFWA's Grand Master, the Kafka Award, a Pushcart Prize, the Howard Vursell Award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the L.A. Times Robert Kirsch Award, the PEN/Malamud Award, and the Margaret A. Edwards Award.

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