Happy Birthday Ursula K. Le Guin

UKLbyMWK-4x5-600dpiAccording to the biographical note on Ursula K. Le Guin’s website, she has published twenty-one novels, eleven volumes of short stories, three collections of essays, twelve books for children, six volumes of poetry and four of translation, and has received many awards: Hugo, Nebula, National Book Award, PEN-Malamud, etc.

What the site doesn’t say is that today, she is celebrating her 80th birthday.  During those 80 years she has touched the lives of countless people, some who know the warm and fiercely intelligent person, and others who are readers and have met her only through her fiction. The impact of the person and her work has made a far deeper imprint than the ink on a page.

As part of an online celebration, we’re asking people to wish her a happy birthday. Please share, if you have a favorite memory of her or her fiction.  To start us off, here’s Robert Silverberg.

Dear Ursula:

45 years ago, when you were a mere wee girl, editor Cele Goldsmith of AMAZING STORIES introduced you to me at the 1964 Oakland Worldcon as one of her most promising new writers.   Cele didn’t exactly say what it was you were promising, but I’ve noticed that you’ve written a story or three over the succeeding years, and I’d say the promise has been kept.

Happy birthday, Ursula!  Live long and prosper!

Robert Silverberg

9 Responses

  1. Mary Robinette Kowal Post author

    Dear Ursula,

    A couple of years ago, before I started writing with any degree of seriousness, I had the opportunity to do the set design for “Ride the Red Mare.” While there were many reasons not to take the job, you were the reason I did.

    I had been a fan of your writing for a long time and the opportunity to meet you in any sort of collaboration, however brief, was the stuff of fantasy. I know, I’m gushing, but you were as funny and charming as one could wish for.

    Many happy returns on your birthday!

    Yours,
    Mary Robinette Kowal

  2. Leslie Howle

    Dear Ursula;

    When I read your work in my youth,I discoverd much more in those great stories than the entertainment afforded by a good read. I absorbed beauty and compassion and wisdom. I learned lessons about humanity, society, gender, and relationships. You took me on journeys, exposed me to wonders, made me laugh and cry, and helped teach me to think and question the Way Things Are. I know you didn’t set out to be a teacher, but it can’t be helped when your experience and wisdom shines through your lovely prose and impacts your readers.

    When you came to Seattle to take part on a panel for CW, I wanted to thank you for your time and for all you’ve given through your work so gave you a moonstone; a beautiful, almost transparent white stone with a bluish shimmer that reminded me of you.

    Thank you for your work and your generous donations of time and energy teaching and speaking to writers. Thank you for your kindness and donations at last year’s Potlatch Auction in California. Your talk at Potlatch was so inspiring. I can’t believe that you’re 80 unless 80 is the new 60! Have a wonderful birthday; wishing you all happiness on your day and the year to come.

    With warm appreciation,
    Les Howle

  3. John Burridge

    Dear Ursula,

    Thank you for giving us the Earthsea searies. And thank you also for George Orr, Heather Lelache, and William Haber of “The Lathe of Heaven.” Your works inspire countless dreamers and writers.

    Several years ago at OryCon, you told an audience that you had “won the lottery” in that people would pay you for the stories you love to write. You also added, “trying to get rich writing is a damn-fool idea.” I remember that day those times when I loose sight of what and why I write.

    Many Happy Returns of the Day

    John Burridge

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  6. C.S. Cole

    Dear Birthday Girl Ursula,

    A few short years ago at my first SF/F convention, I wandered into a hugely attended panel of which you were a part. I had no idea who you were but then again, I had no idea who any of the panelists were.

    What caught my attention above all others was your spunk. You spoke of intelligent things and told us exactly how the writing world is. You also didn’t let any of the typical audience arguers or babblers steal the show. All of this impressed me so much, I bought the first book of yours I could find (Left Hand of Darkness) and have barely looked back since. Your words, both in fiction and in life, are incredibly inspiring.

    Thank you for sharing your talent and your thoughts. Have a very happy birthday. Hope to see you around a Pacific Northwest convention again soon.

    C.S. Cole

  7. Edo Bosnar

    Sorry I’m a day late, but happy birthday, and for many, many, many more. I could write on and on about how much your writing means to me, and how much joy I derive from reading (& re-reading) your works, but I’ll refrain from boring you and anyone else who may be reading this. Simply put, you are one of the best SF writers (hell, writers in general) of all time. Again, best wishes.

  8. Neil Citrin

    Ms. LeGuin-

    I don’t feel I’ve earned the right to use your first name, so I won’t. I do want to say that, though i have never had the chance to see you in person, I have always admired your work. Every time I read something of yours I think: “This is how it should be done.” I keep falling short, but it’s great to know the standard is there.

    Happy birthday