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Happy birthday, Ursula K. Leguin

Ursula K. Le GuinWizard of Earthsea

Today is Ursula K. Le Guin's 80th birthday. The multiple-award-winning writer is best known for "The Wizard of Earthsea" and is thought of for her science fiction, although she has crossed many boundaries.

Earlier this year, she talked to Scott Timberg for the L.A. Times about writing and its possibilities:

"I agree with Tolstoy that the best way to tell a story is invisibly. But I also hear what I write, and I think if you can't read it out loud, there's something wrong with it.

"[2008's 'Lavinia'] isn't like anything else I've done. But the dignified style is the way I used to write, in the first Earthsea books. Some of the cadences are storytelling rather than story writing.

"I'm following Tolkien's prescription for fantasy creation. You are making a world out of words, and the only thing that's going to hold it together is its inner consistency.

"Writing science fiction and fantasy allow you to back off a little bit, to try to find the problems that always come back, that we never solve. Like gender relations, war -- once there's more than 50 of us living in one place we seem to have war.

"How do we and why do we enslave one another? Slavery is maybe another way of saying class. And of course race, which is involved in the others. I'm just circling around these subjects, which have become somewhat clearer to me as I've gotten older, as being the big problems."

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: Ursula K. Le Guin in 2008. Credit: Benjamin Reed

RELATED: Another Oct. 21 birthday girl, Carrie Fisher, on her memoir "Wishful Drinking"

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Happy Birthday, Ursula!
My master, inspirator and model of competent writer. Shall your life be long, shall your mind be always bright and your hands always firm to keep translating the world into words.

Cris Lasaitis

Happy birthday!

I keep a much-treasured, signed, first edition of _Very Far away from Anywhere Else_. My great aunt and uncle obtained it through your mother years ago. I have carried it overseas when living in Europe and the Middle East (along with most of your books)... I loved _Lavinia_. One day, I should re-work a first, poor attempt at adapting "Diary of the Rose" for stage with a Chekov short story that I thought matched? (I don't even know if Ms. Kidd ever shared it with you)...

I grew up with _Just So Stories_ and such, now read by a fourth generation in our family. I am happy to add your books to that carefully selected group. I have weaned my own children with _Tom Mouse_ and the catwing series. Soon -- very soon -- it will be time for them to visit Earthsea. My only concern: will they still want me to read aloud? Will they let me make that journey with them, even just a bit? Or will I have to content myself with memory-filled smiles as they tell me excitedly, "Papa, Ged just met Yevaud!"... Either way, I am happy at the prospect of their further discoveries and inner adventures.

Thank you, thank you, and best wishes again (one day late) for your birthday!

Happy Birthday! I've been reading Ursula K. Le Guin's work since I was 13 years old, which was a very long time ago in a city far, far away. Still one of my favorite authors ever.


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