2013 Convention Far Western Region

Ursula K. Le Guin, Featured Convention Speaker

rdurborow150by Robert “Chaos” Durborow
Far Western Region Associate Student Representative, 2012-2013
Southern Utah University

Ursula K. Le Guin has been a part of my life since early childhood. Though memory fails to render an exact age, I could not have been more than eight or nine years old when I devoured my first Le Guin book. As children, my elder brother and I consumed science fiction as essential sustenance. We thought it was a food group. Le Guin’s fantastic stories fueled my fledgling creative mind, and to this day continue to influence my choice in literature, my writing, and my outlook on life.

The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
The Left Hand of Darkness

Le Guin has always been a consummate teller of tales, a bard in the truest sense. Rather than simply writing books, she creates worlds of rich heritage and palpable texture. Her fictional works, such as Planet of Exile (1966), Rocannon’s World (1966), and The Left Hand of Darkness (1969), are doorways to fantastic, oddly familiar worlds and engaging characters. Still, Le Guin’s speculative fiction constitutes the merest scratch in the surface of her writing talent. As her fiction sparked my young imagination, so do her subsequent writings inspire me now.

Le Guin’s many and varied literary offerings include the poetic works Finding My Elegy (2012), Out Here (2010), and Walking in Cornwall (2012), to name a few. I was unaware of her poetic prowess until I took Intermediate Poetry just two years ago, and was absolutely delighted to discover a shared love of poetry with one of my favorite Sci-Fi/Fantasy authors from childhood. Additionally, in 2009 Shambhala Publications released Le Guin’s collaborative (with J. P. Seaton) translation of Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching, the founding work of Taoist scripture. This revealed an additional connection between myself and Le Guin, as I am also a student of the Tao.

Walking in Cornwall by Ursula K. Le Guin
Walking in Cornwall

Ursula K. Le Guin ranks among the most notable, versatile writers of our time and one of the most influential authors in my own life. I cannot imagine a more appropriate or exciting guest for Sigma Tau Delta’s 2013 International Convention. The opportunity to meet, learn from, and converse with this amazing author is one I never dreamed to have, but one I will not likely forget in this lifetime.

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