Mixed media (gouache, water colour and ink) on Felix Schoeller True Rag Etching
427 X 630 mm (original artwork is framed in one-off arched frame with bronze plaque as per image)

Prints are on Felix Schoeller True Rag Etching 310 gsm
437 x 655mm (with added white border for square format)
Edition of 15
Hand-signed, dated and numbered

Born Ursula Kroeber in California in 1929, Ursula was the daughter of an anthropologist and author. A house filled with books meant that she was exposed to science fiction and fantasy from a young age. She was especially fond of Norse mythology and Native American legends. When she finished school she studied Renaissance French and Italian literature at Harvard, earned a Master of Arts degree at Columbia University and was awarded a Fulbright scholarship towards studying a PhD in France. While traveling to France aboard the Queen Mary, Ursula met historian Charles Le Guin and married him later in the same year, which she deemed the “end of her doctorate”.

Le Guin, however, kept writing stories and published many in “Fantastic Science Fiction” – a feat that was rare for a woman in a male dominated genre. And by the 60s she published her first trilogy of novels known as the Hainish trilogy. Playboy magazine, who published one of her stories “Nine Lives” in 1968, especially requested that they could run the story without her first name to obscure her gender. In later years she would describe this as her first and only brush with prejudice from an editor.

In 1968 she published the critically acclaimed Wizard of Earthsea, aimed at a Young Adult audience. And in the next year The Left Hand of Darkness – a novel set in the Hainish universe exploring themes of gender and sexuality on a planet where humans have no fixed sex. The novel addressed feminist issues and won both the Hugo and Nebula awards – making Le Guin the first woman to win either. Le Guin once commented that she was puzzled – even embarrassed – by her own rarity as a woman in literature. In 1973 she won the Hugo award again for The Word for World is Forest and in 1974 her novel The Dispossessed again won both the Hugo and the Nebula awards. Her career as a writer spanned sixty years, included more than twenty novels, a hundred short stories, more than a dozen volumes of poetry and thirteen children’s books. Throughout this period she challenged gender stereotypes and inequality, addressed themes of empowerment and patriarchy and encouraged diverse voices to pick up pens and write.

Four years before her death in 2018, Le Guin was awarded the Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, during her acceptance speech she criticized the way that profit had become the puppeteer of literature: “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.”