Ursula K. Le Guin’s biography gets a publisher and a release date

Mark your calendar for 2026. That’s when the first and only authorized biography of the late Portland literary legend Ursula K. Le Guin is set to be published by Virago, a UK publisher that focuses on women writers. .

TheBookseller.com reports: “Upon hearing of an auction to acquire the book in the United States, the Virago team moved quickly to get ahead of it, securing the rights before the United States, which concluded with Thomas Gebremedhin at Doubleday.

Le Guin, who died in 2018 at the age of 88, was celebrated for her science fiction and fantasy novels; she has also written short fiction, alternative historical fiction, poetry, essays, literary criticism, and children’s books.

His biographer is Julie Phillips, who has been working on the book for a decade and was among the speakers at the University of Oregon’s 2016 James Tiptree Jr. Symposium on Le Guin and Feminist Science Fiction.

Le Guin’s son, Theo Downes-Le Guin, said Thursday he was delighted with the publishing deal. He and Phillips “have a pretty close correspondence and working relationship,” he said. “I am convinced that she is the right person for the job.”

Phillips’ biography of another notable science fiction author, “James Tiptree, Jr.: The Double Life of Alice B. Sheldon,” impressed Le Guin, his son said, and might have helped him overcome his reluctance to be the subject of a biography. . She and Phillips agreed that it would not be published until after Le Guin’s death.

The book will include family photos and possibly some of Le Guin’s artwork because it depicts a side of her that many people haven’t seen, Downes-Le Guin said. “She was a very active draftsman and draughtswoman throughout her life,” he said. “So much of his personal correspondence is adorned with wonderful little illustrations and cartoons. And she also drew and made oil pastels throughout her life on her travels,” particularly on the Oregon Coast and in California’s Napa Valley.

Related: Ursula K. Le Guin and her art can be found in the Mount St. Helens exhibition at the Portland Art Museum

For a taste of Phillips’ take on Le Guin, check out his New Yorker articles on the author:

  • The Fantastic Ursula K. Le Guin (2016)
  • The Subversive Imagination of Ursula K. Le Guin (2018)

Le Guin was also the subject of a documentary film, “Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin” by Arwen Curry. Last summer, she was honored with a stamp from the United States Postal Service.

After: Ursula K. Le Guin Playlist: Songs Every Fan Should Read

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