Words Are My Matter

words are my matter

Winner of the 2017 Hugo Award

"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. . . ."

Words Are My Matter collects talks, essays, introductions to beloved books, and book reviews by Ursula K. Le Guin, one of our fore- most public literary intellectuals. Words Are My Matter is essential reading. It is a manual for investigating the depth and breadth of con- temporary fiction — and, through the lens of deep considerations of contemporary writing, a way of exploring the world we are all living in.

"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 authorship.” *

Le Guin is one of those authors and this is another of her moments. She has published more than sixty books ranging from fiction to nonfiction, children’s books to poetry, and has received many lifetime achievement awards including the Library of Congress Living Legends award. This year her publications include three survey collections: The Found and the Lost: The Collected Novellas; The Unreal and the Real: The Selected Short Stories; and The Complete Orsinia: Malafrena, Stories and Songs (Library of America).

* From “Freedom” A speech in acceptance of the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.

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Reviews & Interviews:

Between the Covers, on Words Are My Matter and on writing nonfiction in general — Interview conducted by David Naimon, KBOO radio.
— February 2017

New science fiction and fantasy books, by Michael Berry: a review of Words Are My MatterSan Francisco Chronicle.
— December 2016

The legendary Ursula K. Le Guin remains fiery, relevant and influential with Words Are My Matter, by Ted Gioia. Dallas News.
— October 2016

Words Are My Matter  review at Booklist Online, by Michael Cart. “[W]hat she says of poetry—‘Its primary job is simply to find the words that give it its right, true shape’—might well be said of all the shapely pieces in this generous, edifying, and invaluable collection.”
— September 2016

Words Are My Matter, reviewed at Kirkus. “In a review of Kent Haruf’s Benediction, Le Guin remarks on a character’s ‘humor so dry it’s almost ether.’ That praise applies to Le Guin as well in a collection notable for its wit, unvarnished opinions, and passion.”
— July 2016

Publishers Weekly review of Words Are My Matter: Writings About Life and Books, 2000-2016. “The wide-ranging collection includes essays, lectures, introductions, and reviews, all informed by Le Guin’s erudition, offered without academic mystification, and written (or spoken) with an inviting grace.... In a resonating essay, ‘What Women Know,’ Le Guin discusses the differences between stories told by men and women, remarking, ‘I think it’s worth thinking about.’ That’s this collection in a nutshell: everywhere something to think about.”
— July 2016

One of our best and most thoughtful writers presents a wide-ranging collection of essays, reviews, and talks.
— Publishers Weekly. June 2016

More reviews at Small Beer Press