Ursula Le Guin dies aged 88

One of the most influential writers of her generation, author of possibly the most famous anarchist science fiction ever penned, Le Guin passed away at home after a short illness.

While many will remember her for the Earthsea series, The Dispossessed was perhaps Le Guin’s most enduring work for anarchists, a deep, nuanced and beautifully written reflection on the potential of Utopia on the anarchist planet of Anarres and the nature of collectivism.

Le Guin’s interest in anarchist thinking grew out of reading a wide variety of pacifist works, beginning with Ghandi and Martin Luther King before delving into the thinking of Peter Kropotkin and the non-violent anarchist movements that had grown up in the ’60s. From the ’70s onwards her writing, which embraced a huge range of progressive topics, remained a lodestone for anarchist authors worldwide.

Never a noisy personality, Le Guin was an active campaigner for justice for much of her life, particularly in the peace movement – she was nine when Germany invaded Poland and all three of her brothers went to war. She marched against nuclear testing, for civil rights and spoke out strongly against the Iraq War.

She noted toward the end of her life that she still loved the anarchist pacifists and remained a committed peacenik, supporting Oakland protesters and once reminding an interviewer that “my heart belongs to Anarres!”


Picture: Oregon State University