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Gollancz’s Far-Reaching Le Guin Project Revealed & Radio 4 Programme Links

Ursula K. LeGuinUrsula K. Le Guin sits as one of the top 10 most important fantasy writers of all time.

The sad fact is though that not enough people have read her work. Likely, it is because she is a woman writing fantasy / science fiction – and we all know the purposeful / accidental ignorance surrounding that topic. But for others, especially those of younger generations, it may simply be a case that because her most impressive works are getting on a bit now, they are not as readily available or as well advertised.

Whatever the reason it looks as though things are about to change. Our publishing friends Gollancz look set to make her top work more easily accessible that ever before. What they’ve announced is that they are planning a new far-reaching publishing project that will release new paperback versions of five significant novels, two short story collections, a volume of selected non-fiction and eBook of twelve widely-acclaimed novels; including A Wizard of Earthsea and The Dispossessed amongst others.

Gillian Redfearn, Publishing Director of Gollancz, said: ‘Ursula K. Le Guin is one of the world’s finest writers, in or out of genre, and we’re delighted to have concluded this deal to add more of her novels to our SF Masterworks list and to publish eBooks of so many of her great SF and Fantasy works. It’s particularly pleasing to welcome the Earthsea books back to Gollancz, where we first published them in hardback over four decades ago.’

The Breakdown… what books have they actually signed?

The deal includes rights to publish Hugo Award-winner The Word for World is Forest and the ground-breaking Always Coming Home in paperback and eBook.

There will also be an omnibus edition of the early “Hainish” novels – Rocannon’s World, Planet of Exile, and City of Illusions – and an omnibus volume of selected non-fiction to be compiled by the author and drawn from previous ground-breaking works including The Language of the Night, The Wave in the Mind and Dancing at the End of the World.

Two important short story collections, The Wind’s Twelve Quarters and The Compass Rose, will also be published in a paperback omnibus.

EarthseaMost excitingly, Gollancz will also publish eBooks of the widely acclaimed Earthsea series, comprising A Wizard of Earthsea, The Tombs of Atuan, The Farthest Shore, Tehanu, Tales From Earthsea and The Other Wind. Other titles to be published as eBooks include A Very Long Way from Anywhere Else, The Eye of the Heron and Unlocking the Air, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. The eBooks will be published as part of an on-going programme over the coming years.

The books will be published as part of our popular SF Masterworks and Fantasy Masterworks list that aims to showcase landmark works of science fiction and fantasy from the 20th century. Current SF Masterworks By Ursula K. Le Guin – The Dispossessed and The Lathe of Heaven – will also receive eBook editions for the first time in the UK.

Radio Show

As if this isn’t good news enough, there is currently an ongoing series of programmes on BBC Radio Four in the UK celebrating Ursula K. Le Guin’s 85 years. These include a 2 part The Left Hand of Darkness drama, a 6 part Earthsea drama and a lengthy documentary and discussion on and about Le Guin’s 85 years.

The Left Hand of Darkness: Schedule & On Demand Here

Science fiction with incredible humanity from a brilliant feminist writer. This is the first dramatisation of Ursula Le Guin’s 1969 novel which is as groundbreaking in its approach to gender as when it was first published over 45 years ago.

In a snow-changed city in the middle of an Ice Age on an alien world, one young man prepares for the biggest mission of his life. Alone and unarmed, Genly Ai has been sent from Earth to persuade the world of Gethen to join The Ekumen, a union of planets. But it’s a task fraught with danger. Genly is shocking to the natives. This is a world in which humans are ambigendered – everyone can be a mother, and everyone can be a father.

First Minister Estraven is the only person who champions Genly’s cause, but their relationship is deeply incomprehensible and troubling. Genly’s life is at risk and he must decide who to trust.

Le Guin at 85: Schedule & On Demand Here

Naomi Alderman talks to leading novelist Ursula Le Guin about her life and work and hears from literary fans including David Mitchell and Neil Gaiman.

Earthsea: Schedule & On Demand Here

A tale of wizards, dragons and magic by Ursula Le Guin.

Obviously these are all only available here in the UK.



  1. Avatar Carole-Ann says:

    Overwhelmed am I 🙂 and “better late than never” was a thought which immediately surfaced.

    So glad it’s happening anyway, and will be listening avidly! Very much looking forward to the Earthsea series – it’s a brilliant story 🙂

  2. Avatar Bibliotropic says:

    I’d heard of LeGuin before I started bookblogging, but only in a vague, “I should probably read that stuff eventually” sort of way. It wasn’t until I threw myself further into the SFF community that I heard more, and learned just how important her writing actually is.

    To my shame, though, I still haven’t read anything of hers. :/

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