Ursula K. Le Guin
Steering the Craft
Publication Date September 1, 2015
Steering the Craft, 2nd edition.
From the back cover: COMPLETELY REVISED AND REWRITTEN to address the challenges and opportunities of the modern era, this handbook is a short, deceptively simple guide to the craft of writing. The ten chapters shed light on the most fundamental components of narrative, from the sound of language to sentence construction to point of view. Each chapter combines illustrative examples from the global canon with Ursula Le Guin’s own witty commentary and and exercise that the writer can do solo or in a group. Le Guin also offers a comprehensive guide to working in writing groups both actual and online.
New on the Website
& New Offsite Links
- Navigating the Ocean of Story, Session 1, Part 5
5 October 2015
- Attleboro geocaching event sends participants on a quest for clues, by Judee Consentino. “Saturday’s geocaching event, ‘A Hero’s Quest,’ ... was linked to A Wizard of Earthsea, the novel by Ursula K. Le Guin that is the citywide read this fall in conjunction with the National Endowment for the Arts. It took the hikers on a one-mile walk to discover the secret of the wizard of Earthsea’s power.”
4 October 2015
- Ursula K. Le Guin: Steering The Craft. “Between the Covers” Podcast via KBOO, conducted by David Naimon
2 October 2015
Even if you’re infallible, you can’t make a saint out of a cruel bigot. My pre-canonization piece on Junipero Serra’s track of slave labor and pious murder up the California coast is at
Common and Institutional Saints: a guest post by UKL.
29 September 2015
- Schedule Update: Wordstock, Portland, OR; UCLA, Los Angeles, CA
26 September 2015
- Kurd Lassvitz Award to UKL’s Verlorene Paradiese (Paradises Lost)
At the PentaCon in Dresden on Sept. 12, 2015, the Kurd Lassvitz Award for the best foreign science-fiction work published in Germany in 2014 was given to Verlorene Paradiese (Paradises Lost) by Ursula K. Le Guin. At the same time, Horst Illmerrsquo;s translation won the award in the category for translation into German.
The Kurd Lassvitz Award is comparable to the SFWA’s Nebula Award, the voters being all professionally involved in science fiction.
24 September 2015
Ursula K. Le Guin on myths, Modernism and why “I’m a little bit suspicious of the MFA program,” by Scott Timberg, at Salon.
19 September 2015
- Biography update
18 September 2015
- Two Years, Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights by Salman Rushdie – a modern Arabian Nights, a review by UKL at The Guardian
6 September 2015
- Index of information, videos, links for NBF Medal Ceremony
Speech in Acceptance of the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters
To the givers of this beautiful reward, my thanks, from
the heart. My family, my agents, my editors, know that my being here is their
doing as well as my own, and that the beautiful reward is theirs as much as
mine. And I rejoice in accepting it for, and sharing it with, all the writers
who’ve been excluded from literature for so long — my fellow authors of
fantasy and science fiction, writers of the imagination, who for fifty years
have watched the beautiful rewards go to the so-called realists.
Hard times are coming, when we’ll be wanting the voices of
writers who can see alternatives to how we live now, can see through our
fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being,
and even imagine real grounds for hope. We’ll need writers who can remember
freedom — poets, visionaries — realists of a larger reality.
Right now, we need writers who know the difference between
production of a market commodity and the practice of an art. Developing written
material to suit sales strategies in order to maximise corporate profit and
advertising revenue is not the same thing as responsible book publishing or
Yet I see sales departments given control over editorial. I
see my own publishers, in a silly panic of ignorance and greed, charging public
libraries for an e-book 6 or 7 times more than they charge customers. We just
saw a profiteer try to punish a publisher for disobedience, and writers
threatened by corporate fatwa. And I see a lot of us, the producers, who write
the books and make the books, accepting this — letting commodity profiteers
sell us like deodorant, and tell us what to publish, what to write.
Books aren’t just commodities; the profit motive is often in
conflict with the aims of art. We live in capitalism, its power seems inescapable
— but then, so did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted
and changed by human beings. Resistance and change often begin in art. Very
often in our art, the art of words.
I’ve had a long career as a writer, and a good one, in good
company. Here at the end of it, I don’t want to watch American literature get
sold down the river. We who live by writing and publishing want and should
demand our fair share of the proceeds; but the name of our beautiful reward
isn’t profit. Its name is freedom.
Ursula K. Le Guin
November 19, 2014
This text may be quoted without obtaining permission from
the author, or copied in full so long as the copyright information is included:
Copyright © 2014 Ursula K. Le Guin
Interesting Things Done by People Named Le Guin & Kroeber
Alan Kroeber Photography
Karl Kroeber Photography
Peninsulas and Islands: A Tale for Coastal Communities, a review by Margaret Hammitt-McDonald of North Coast by Charles A. Le Guin. Signed copies available at Jupiter’s Books in Cannon Beach. [North Coast excerpts]
- The Peach Poem, by Caroline Le Guin
- UPFOR, Theo Downes-Le Guin’s new Portland gallery, and its blog
- The Frontier Fandango, Mexico/California
Every year people meet at the edge of the ocean, on the two sides of the fence between the two countries, to sing, play, and dance the music of Vera Cruz called “son jarocho.” My daughter Elisabeth has been learning this music, and this year she took a video camera to the Fandango. The fence is so high and now so thick that the people can barely see one another, but the music and love and grief and longing come through, loud and clear.
“The Video...” by Elisabeth Le Guin
- The Galixee, According to C.H. Downes-Le Guin, 2012
Please click on covers for more information