Ursula LeGuin on Resistance and Change

Ursula K Le Guin

Ursula LeGuin, in her acceptance speech for the Distinguished Contribution to American Letters at the National Book Awards, said this, in defense of writing and humanity:

Hard times are coming, when we’ll be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now, can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, and even imagine real grounds for hope. We’ll need writers who can remember freedom – poets, visionaries – realists of a larger reality.

Right now, we need writers who know the difference between production of a market commodity and the practice of an art. Developing written material to suit sales strategies in order to maximise corporate profit and advertising revenue is not the same thing as responsible book publishing or authorship …

Books aren’t just commodities; the profit motive is often in conflict with the aims of art. 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.

One thought on “Ursula LeGuin on Resistance and Change

  1. Powerful words from a science fiction heavyweight. I’ve been thinking and wondering about the role of poetry in a crowded landscape of content. I appreciated your comments at BHP on sharing the shadows and real self online instead of the image-crafting that often happens. I also liked that you mentioned that this idea is not in conflict with letting your light shine. In a similar way as Ursula LeGuin addresses the role of the writer, I’m glad to see that you are occupying the space of authenticity and being a voice for good in the online world.

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