Ursula K Le Guin, Science fiction and fantasy author passes away

The immensely popular author brought literary depth and a feministy sensibility to science fiction and fantasy, with books like “The left-Hand of Darness” and the Earthsea series

Award-winning US science fiction and fantasy author Ursula K Le Guin has died aged 88, her family has said.

The immensely popular author brought literary depth and a feministy sensibility to science fiction and fantasy, with books like “The left-Hand of Darness” and the Earthsea series.

She passed away on Monday at her home in Portland, Oregon, after a period of ill health.

She wrote more than 20 novels and over 100 short stories that sold millions of copies around the world.

Her verified Twitter account posted a statement on Tuesday evening saying: "The family of Ursula K Le Guin is deeply saddened to announce her peaceful death yesterday afternoon."

Her books have been translated into more than 40 languages and have sold millions of copies worldwide. Several, including “The Left Hand of Darkness” — set on a planet where the customary gender distinctions do not apply — have been in print for almost 50 years.

The critic Harold Bloom lauded Ms. Le Guin as “a superbly imaginative creator and major stylist” who “has raised fantasy into high literature for our time.”

I eliminated gender to find out what was left Ursula K Le Guin

"I tend to avoid fiction about dysfunctional urban middle-class people written in the present tense," she once said.

"This makes it hard to find a new novel, sometimes."

In addition to more than 20 novels, she was the author of a dozen books of poetry, more than 100 short stories (collected in multiple volumes), seven collections of essays, 13 books for children and five volumes of translation, including the Tao Te Ching of Lao Tzu and selected poems by the Chilean Nobel Prize winner Gabriela Mistral. She also wrote a guide for writers.

She was educated at Radcliffe College, Massachusetts, and New York's Columbia University, becoming a Fulbright Fellow in 1953.

She became an expert in anthropology and was influenced by anarchist and Taoist thinking.

In a career spanning more than half a century, she won a number of Nebula and Hugo science fiction and fantasy awards.

She also received the Newbery Medal, the top honour for US children's literature and the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American letters.

The US Library of Congress in 2000 designated her a Living Legend for her contribution to America's cultural heritage.

Reacting to news of her death, US horror author Stephen King paid tribute to Le Guin as "one of the greats".

"Not just a science fiction writer; a literary icon. Godspeed into the galaxy," he wrote on Twitter.

Le Giun is survived by her husband, historian Charles Le Guin, her son, and two daughters. 

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