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Literary Arts News

Le Guin Family Donates Portland Home To Literary Arts For New Writers Residency

The generous gift will fulfill Ursula K. Le Guin’s lifelong mission to elevate historically underrepresented voices in literature.

Ursula K. Le Guin, one of the world’s most celebrated and revolutionary authors, wrote most of her books, including The Books of Earthsea, The Dispossessed, and The Left Hand of Darkness, from the sanctuary of her second-floor writing studio in her Northwest Portland home. Today, Literary Arts announced that the Le Guin family will donate their home to Literary Arts to create the Ursula K. Le Guin Writers Residency. This will be Oregon’s first significant permanent recognition of Le Guin’s 50-year literary legacy since she died in 2018.

Andrew Proctor, executive director of Literary Arts, shared, “Our conversations with Ursula and her family began in 2017. She had a clear vision for her home to become a creative space for writers and a beacon for the broader literary community. With the launch of the public phase of our Campaign for Literary Arts this month, we are closer than ever to making this dream a reality. This campaign will allow us to raise funds to launch the Ursula K. Le Guin Writers Residency and plan for its future. The Le Guin family had many partners to choose from and we are honored that they are entrusting Literary Arts with this cherished cultural treasure.”

Originally built in 1899 from a Sears & Roebuck catalog plan, the three-story house and garden were purchased by Ursula and her husband, Charles, in the early 1960s when Northwest Portland was home to many academics, artists and working-class households. With a view of Mount St. Helens and decorated with her personal collection of rocks and well-loved art and books, Ursula’s corner room evolved throughout the years from a nursery for her children to the place where she wrote some of her best-known work, from novels to her blog. There is still a designated space on her desk for the typewriter on which Ursula would type her final manuscripts. A redwood tree, planted in the 1960s, now towers over that corner of the house, a reminder of Ursula’s Northern California roots.

“We have always felt a strong connection to Literary Arts and its mission to support diverse voices and build an empathetic, empowered and inclusive community of writers,” said Theo Downes-Le Guin, literary executor and Ursula’s son. “Although Ursula’s reputation is international, she focused much of her energy on the local community of writers, libraries and literary organizations. So it’s fitting that this residency, ambitious in the breadth of writers it will reach, will be rooted in the house and city she loved and lived in for more than a half century.”

About the Ursula K. Le Guin Writers Residency

Once established, the new Ursula K. Le Guin Writers Residency, to be operated by Literary Arts, will welcome writers from around the world, with a focus on those residing in the western United States.Staying true to the organization’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, the program will invite writers of different genders, races, ages, economic status, education and literary genres to apply for residencies. The writers will be selected by an advisory council made up of literary professionals and a Le Guin family member. Appointed writers will be asked to engage with the local community in a variety of literary activities, such as community-wide readings and workshops. The residency program is currently in the development phase, with plans for future renovations to the home for improved accessibility.

The public phase of the Campaign for Literary Arts will celebrate the organization’s Portland roots and create one of the largest literary centers in the United States. The campaign is raising funds to:


Please direct media inquiries to Jyoti Roy, Director of Marketing & Communications: jyoti [at] literary-arts.org

Please direct donation inquiries to Brandon Lenzi, Director of Development: brandon [at] literary-arts.org

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