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Watch Ursula Le Guin's Wonderful National Book Awards Speech

By Alexander Joenks | Videos | November 24, 2014 |

By Alexander Joenks | Videos | November 24, 2014 |

It’s always weird picking out a header image for a writer doing something. Because for the most part, writers are not visually interesting people. And why would they be? They have made their mark with words. Directors and producers are hardly any different in that regard. But because writers paint with words, they have precious little else that’s visual to present. The minds behind movies and television, well a thousand different screenshots will do. But other than a handful of memorable book covers, the same approach just doesn’t work for writers.

So that’s why you get a picture of Ursula Le Guin’s cat.

The writer of such fabulous books as The Left Hand of Darkness and the Earthsea series won a fancy medal over the weekend. The National Book Awards gave her the “Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters”. That title is supposed to convey that it’s a rare lifetime achievement sort of thing to honor the greats. If only they had anyone on hand skilled with words who could have made the title more meaningful.

In any case, Le Guin gave a short speech, and it is wonderful and you should listen to it:

A couple of excerpts in case you forgot to bring headphones to whatever fascist enclave you are spending time in that would frown upon hearing Le Guin speak.

“We live in capitalism. It’s power seems inescapable. So did the divine right of kings … I think hard times are coming when we will be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now and can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, and even imagine some real grounds for hope. We will need writers who can remember freedom. Poets, visionaries—the realists of a larger reality.”