Ursula was born in Berkeley, California in a well-civilized family.
His father, Alfred Louis Kroeber was an anthropologist at the University of California, Berkeley, and mother, Theodora Kracaw was a writer.
She was the youngest and only sister of her three brothers- Clifton, Theodore, Karl Kroeber.
Since her childhood, Ursula was exposed to unique ideas, art, and various cultures which fostered her keen interest in literature.
This encouraging environment prompted her to write her first fantasy story at the age of 9.
At the age of just 11, she started writing short stories and also submitted one of her stories to a magazine “Astounding Science Fiction,” but it was rejected.
Despite getting disappointment at an initial step, she continued her passion for writing for next ten years and ignored the lust of publishing them.
She was offered a Fulbright scholarship to pursue her Ph. D. in France, and while en route France, she met the love of her life- Charles Le Guin, Emeritus Professor of History.
After few months, on December 22, 1953, the couple tied the knot in Paris.
She had worked as a secretary and then a teacher of French in a university where their first child- Elisabeth was born.
In 1958, all of them relocated to Portland, Oregon, and Ursula decided to devote time to writing besides performing household chores.
Ursula wrote five novels from 1951 to 1961, but publishers rejected all of them and stated the reason that the writings seemed inaccessible.
In 1964, she penned the short story titled “The Word of Unbinding,” which was the first in the Earthsea series.
These fantasy series include five novels out of which three are young adult novels – A Wizard of Earthsea, The Tombs of Atuan and The Farthest Shore which are sometimes referred to as The Earthsea Trilogy.
Earthsea series also includes eight short stories written by Ursula Le Guin.
In 1976, her novel entitled “Orsinian Tales,” a collection of eleven short stories based on the imaginary country of Orsinia, was an evergreen hit.
No doubt her interest area was science fiction and fantasy, but her novels- Malafrena and Orsinian Tales were a bit different from her interests.
Ursula rose to prominence when her book “The Left Hand of Darkness,” which was the fourth in Hainish Cycle (a science fiction series) was the Nebula and Hugo Award winner.
Her 1971 novel- The Lathe of Heaven made such an impact on the people that in 1980, a movie based on the novel was also released.
Moreover in 1974, her novel, “The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia” made her the first person to win both the Nebula and Hugo Awards for “Best Novel.”
She, along with Ken Kesey, William Stafford, and Brian Booth, founded the Oregon Institute of Literary Arts (now- Literary Arts) in 1984.
She was awarded the PEN/Malamud Award for “Excellence in a body of short fiction” in 2002.
In 2003, she was amongst one of the few women writers to be presented a Grandmaster of Science Fiction, topmost honor in this genre.
In 2014, Ursula was honored with the lifetime achievement award- “The National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters” at National Book Awards. Here’s a wonderful speech by Ursula Le Guin on her remarkable achievement:
In 2016, she was labeled as “America’s greatest living science fiction writer” by The New York Times, upon which she rectified that only “American novelist” would be more better.
Here’s a brief biography of this legendary writer and novelist:
Ursula’s last extraordinary collection was a non-fiction titled “No Time to Spare: Thinking About What Matters.”
On January 22, 2018, she died at her home in Portland, Oregon, and later, her son said that her health condition was not satisfactory for last few months.
Her fans and readers worldwide paid tribute to her and tweeted in remembrance of her.
Ursula has set a benchmark in the field of science fiction and fantasy novels and has influenced a plethora of writers including Booker Prize winners and other writers as Salman Rushdie and David Mitchell and also the notable science fiction and fantasy writers- Neil Gaiman and Iain Banks.