Ursula Kroeber Le Guin was born on October 21, 1929 in Berkley, CA. Her father, Alfred was an anthropologist, and her mother Theodora was a writer of children's stories. She had three brothers, Clifton, Ted, and Karl. Throughout their early childhood life, they were all treated very well. LeGuin went to college at Radcliffe where she received her Bachelors of Arts degree in Literature. Later she went to Columbia University where she received her Master of Arts in Literature. She became a member of Phi Beta Kappa and started work on her doctoral program, including a thesis on the poet Jean Lemaire de Belges. She gave up the idea after she met Charles A. Le Guin while she was in France studying. The two married and had three kids: Elisabeth, Caroline, and Theodore. Currently her three children live in Portland, Oregon as does Mrs. Le Guin. 5
Although her marriage ended her studies as a student, her true work as a writer began shortly thereafter. She wrote many poems that are collected in Wild Angles (1975). She continued to write and wrote five novels in the next ten years. Many of these novels didn't fit into the science fiction or fantasy genre. Her first really successful work was the Earthsea trilogy. The works include: A Wizard of Earthsea, The Tombs of Atuan, and The Farthest Shore. All three of the books won major awards such as the Boston Globe-Hornbook Award for Excellence and the National Book Award for Children's Literature. 10
She has written many fantasy stories and many science fiction stories. Three of which are The Left Hand of Darkness, The Lathe of Heaven and The Dispossessed.
The Left Hand of Darkness takes place on the planet Gathen. "The very ancient symbol of the androgyne is used to show what it means to be human, once one has forgotten about the sex roles." 5
The Lathe of Heaven was published in 1971. "It investigates dream states and satirizes the power complex of some psychiatrists, particularly behaviorists." 5
The Dispossessed was published in 1974 and won Hugo Nebula, and Jupiter awards. The Jupiter award is presented by people in higher level education and it reflects how well the author knows and understands physics. This book is about Shevek, a brilliant physicist, who decides to take action against the government. He eventually travels to a far away planet to challenge the complex structures of life. 5
Le Guin has written many stories, poetry, and novels over her years. She has written 17 novels, 11 children's books, more than 100 short stories, two collections of essays, five volumes of poetry, two volumes of translation and screenplays of her works. Even more impressive is her list of awards for the works that she has accomplished. She has received the National Book Award, five Hugos, five Nebulas, the Kafka Award, a Pushcart Prize and several "lifetime achievement" awards among dozens of other honors. 7
A large number of her novels are part of three main series she has written about. The three series are the Hanish, the Earthsea, and the Orsinia series. Below are the books that belong to each series. 12
City of Illusions
Four Ways to Forgiveness
The Left Hand of Darkness
Planet of Exile
The Word for World in Forest
A Wizard of Earthsea
The Tombs of Atuan
The Farthest Shore
One of Le Guin's more famous series is the Earthsea Series. The original series was a trilogy, but later Le Guin published Tehanu which picked up where The Farthest Shore left off. The series follows the journey of a young wizard named Ged. In A Wizard of Earthsea Ged releases a shadow creature while trying to impress his friends at wizardry school. The remainder of the book is about his quest to conquer the shadow and find out what the shadow really is. 1 In The Tombs of Atuan, Ged must follow the advice of a young girl to lead him through the catacombs. 4 In The Farthest Shore, Ged embarks on a journey around the land of Earthsea to find the cause of the evil disturbances in the magic and put and end to it. 3 In the last book, Tehanu, Tehanu a widowed female wizard sets out to help her dying master take care of his favorite student. 2 Below is a map of Le Guin's Earthsea world. 9
Amazon.com "A Wizard of Earthsea (Earthsea Trilogy, Book 1)." Amazon.com.
Amazon.com "Tehanu: The Last Book Of Earthsea (Earthsea Tetrology #4)." Amazon.com.
Amazon.com "The Farthest Shore (Earthsea Trilogy)." Amazon.com.
Amazon.com "The Tombs of Atuan (Earthsea Trilogy)." Amazon.com.
Bucknall, Barbara J. Ursula K. LeGuin. New York: Frederick Ungar Publishing Co. 1981.