The fantasy author, remembered as a 'literary icon,' died Monday

By Maureen Lee Lenker
January 23, 2018 at 06:37 PM EST
Dan Tuffs/Getty Images

Influential fantasy fiction writer Ursula K. Le Guin died Monday at the age of 88, and her death has driven an outpouring of remembrances and odes to her work, particularly from fellow writers.

Le Guin authored more than 20 novels in her lifetime, as well as a dozen books of poetry, more than 100 short stories, seven collections of essays, 13 books for children, and five volumes of translation. Her work has been translated into more than 40 languages and has sold millions of copies around the world, and her writing is noted for its feminist sensibilities and providing “high literature” in the fantasy genre. Le Guin won multiple Hugo and Nebula awards, prizes awarded specifically for science fiction and fantasy writing, as well as the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters at the National Book Awards.

Her passing has left an immense hole in the world of fantasy fiction and many prominent authors of the genre (and beyond) are responding to her death with sadness and messages that recount how much her work inspired them. Stephen King called Le Guin “a literary icon” and wished her “godspeed into the galaxy.” Best-selling author N.K. Jemisin said Le Guin is “one of the reasons [she’s] a writer now.”

Beloved writer Neil Gaiman, who presented Le Guin with the National Book Foundation’s lifetime achievement award, also shared how deeply affected he was by the news, writing, “I just learned that Ursula K. Le Guin has died. Her words are always with us. Some of them are written on my soul. I miss her as a glorious funny prickly person, & I miss her as the deepest and smartest of the writers, too.”

Read below for a sampling of reactions to the author’s death.

 

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