Ursula K. Le Guin. Freedom is the Name of our Beautiful Reward

If you know me at all, you’ll probably know that I am a big Ursula K. Le Guin fan. And I am not the only one: David Mitchell and Zadie Smith cite her as a major influence; and there are many of us who are passionate about this excellent and prolific writer.

All I can really say is: read the books. And then read them again.

On November 20 2014, Ursula Le Guin was honored for her life’s work at the 2014 National Book Awards. In her speech she reminded us that the power of capitalism, like the  divine right of kings, is not inescapable.

An inspiration in tough times. Bring it on Ursula.

“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. Right now, I think we need writers who know the difference between production of a market commodity and the practice of an art. The profit motive is often in conflict with the aims of art.
We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable; so did the divine right of kings. 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.
I’ve had a long career and a good one, in good company, and here, at the end of it, I really don’t want to watch American literature get sold down the river.

The name of our beautiful reward is not profit. Its name is freedom.”

Copyright © 2014 Ursula K. Le Guin

Photo © 2014 Jack Liu