US fantasy author Ursula K Le Guin dies

Updated: Jan 24, 2018, 10:46 IST | IANS

Award-winning US science fiction and fantasy author Ursula K. Le Guin has died, her family said. She was 88

Ursula K Le Guin. Pic/AFP
Ursula K Le Guin. Pic/AFP

Award-winning US science fiction and fantasy author Ursula K. Le Guin has died, her family said. She was 88. The best-selling writer passed away on Monday at her home in Portland, Oregon, after a period of ill health, the family said late Tuesday.

Le Guin's books melded dragons and wizards with spaceships to tackle earth-bound problems of race, gender and class, the BBC reported. She wrote more than 20 novels and over 100 short stories that sold millions of copies around the world. Her verified Twitter account posted a statement saying: "The family of Ursula K. Le Guin is deeply saddened to announce her peaceful death yesterday (Monday) afternoon." She was best known for the "Earthsea" series, written for young adults, and her 1969 sci-fi classic "The Left Hand of Darkness", set on a planet called Gethen, where everyone is ambisexual. "I tend to avoid fiction about dysfunctional urban middle-class people written in the present tense," she once said.

"This makes it hard to find a new novel, sometimes." In a career spanning more than half a century, she won a number of Nebula and Hugo science fiction and fantasy awards. She also received the Newbery Medal, the top honour for US children's literature and the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American letters. The US Library of Congress in 2000 designated her a Living Legend for her contribution to America's cultural heritage, the BBC report said.

Reacting to news of her death, US horror author Stephen King paid tribute to Le Guin as "one of the greats". "Not just a science fiction writer; a literary icon. Godspeed into the galaxy," he wrote on Twitter. Le Guin was born Ursula Kroeber on October 21, 1929 in Berkeley, California. She was educated at Radcliffe College, Massachusetts, and New York's Columbia University, becoming a Fulbright Fellow in 1953. She became an expert in anthropology and was influenced by anarchist and Taoist thinking, the BBc said. Her first novel, "Rocannon's World" was published in 1966. She married historian Charles Le Guin, and the couple had three children.

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