August 3, 2016

“We will need writers who can remember freedom. Poets, visionaries—the realists of a larger reality.”


Today is a good day—as is any day—to revisit the epochal National Book Award acceptance speech delivered by science fiction great Ursula K. Le Guin on November 19, 2014.

Books, you know, they’re not just commodities. The profit motive often is in conflict with the aims of art. We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable. 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, and very often in our art — the art of words.

As much a call to the conscience of the book industry as it is the statement of a past master in the art of writing, it’s a speech that, alas, shows little sign of becoming less relevant anytime too soon.