Winning the National Book Foundation medal for distinguished publication to American letters successful 2014, the precocious Ursula K Le Guin spoke of however how “hard times are coming, erstwhile we’ll beryllium wanting the voices of writers who tin spot alternatives to however we unrecorded now, tin spot done our fear-stricken nine and its obsessive technologies to different ways of being, and adjacent ideate existent grounds for hope”. Seven years later, a caller literate grant is being launched by her property to honour those authors.
The Ursula K Le Guin prize for fabrication volition beryllium awarded for the archetypal clip adjacent year, connected 21 October, which would person been the Earthsea author’s 93rd birthday. Worth $25,000 (£18,000), it volition spell to a enactment of “imaginative fiction”, with the volition of recognising the writers Le Guin spoke of successful her 2014 acceptance speech. She said astatine the clip that she was sharing the medal with “all the writers who’ve been excluded from lit for truthful agelong – my chap authors of phantasy and subject fiction, writers of the imagination, who for 50 years person watched the beauteous rewards spell to the alleged realists”. When the hard times arrive, Le Guin said, “we’ll request writers who tin retrieve state – poets, visionaries – realists of a larger reality”.
Le Guin died successful 2018, aged 88. Theo Downes-Le Guin, her lad and literate executor said helium hoped the prize would “provide meaningful assistance and designation to writers who mightiness different not person it.
“Many volition admit an irony successful that Ursula herself was suspicious of literate awards and prizes. At the aforesaid time, she recognised their genuine worth successful honouring a writer and expanding visibility of good, undervalued writing,” helium added. “She besides knew that a spot of money, astatine the close infinitesimal and successful the close spirit, tin beryllium a turning constituent successful a writer’s quality to proceed writing.”
Le Guin was the victor of six Nebula awards, 8 Hugo awards, and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America’s Grand Master award. She was known for works of subject fabrication specified arsenic The Dispossessed and The Left Hand of Darkness, and the celebrated and award-winning Earthsea children’s phantasy novels, which are currently being adapted for television.
Her property said it wanted to honour novels that “reflect immoderate of the themes and ideas that were cardinal to Ursula’s ain magnificent and beloved work, including anticipation and freedom; alternatives to conflict; and a holistic presumption of humanity’s spot successful the earthy world”.
The caller grant volition beryllium unfastened “to all; readers, authors, booksellers, publishers, librarians, and anyone other tin nominate enactment they judge fits the prize criteria”, said the Ursula K Le Guin Literary Trust, which volition make a shortlist of finalists, to beryllium work by a sheet of judges including David Mitchell, Luis Alberto Urrea and Becky Chambers.
Cloud Atlas writer Mitchell said helium was “deeply honoured” to justice the award. “Ursula Le Guin’s visionary fabrication entered my caput erstwhile I was young and has ne'er left. Her novels and stories defined, successful part, my knowing of what fabrication tin do, should do, and why,” said Mitchell. “I look guardant to encountering caller works of imaginative fabrication which, similar Ursula’s, glow successful the dark.”
Chambers, writer of The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, agreed. “Ursula Le Guin’s books are what made my younger aforesaid privation to go a subject fabrication writer, truthful I see it a immense honour to beryllium portion of the assemblage for this prize,” she said. “Fictional futures that springiness america thing to constituent our compasses toward are a captious thing, and I’m truthful excited for the accidental to assistance observe the voices continuing that work.”