When Ursula K Le Guin accepted the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters at the 2014 National Book Awards, she discussed the need for writers “who remember freedom,” and are “the realists of a larger reality."
Le Guin also stated, "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."
You can watch the powerful speech in its entirety here.
While Le Guin passed away in 2018, the field of speculative fiction still feels her impact. Her legacy will be furthered with the introduction of the Ursula K. Le Guin Prize for Fiction.
This new annual $25,000 prize will be awarded by the Ursula K. Le Guin Literary Trust. According to Publisher's Weekly, the honor will be awarded to “a writer for a single book-length work of imaginative fiction" that embraces the spirit of Le Guin's iconic National Book Awards speech by imagining "real grounds for hope and [...] alternatives to how we live now."
The jurors for this inaugural award include author and activist adrienne maree brown, an Octavia Butler scholar who has previously written for The Portalist. The jury also includes Becky Chambers, Molly Gloss, David Mitchell, and Luis Alberto Urrea.
Related: 9 Essential Ursula K. Le Guin Books
The nomination process for this award is open to anyone, and will begin on February 1st, 2022. For a book to be eligible, it must published in 2022, and either published in English or translated into English.
The first honor will be awarded on October 21st, 2022, which would have been Le Guin’s 93rd birthday.
For more Le Guin, download one of her books today!
This post is sponsored by Open Road Media. Thank you for supporting our partners, who make it possible for The Portalist to celebrate the sci-fi and fantasy stories you love.