Portland, Oregon

Ursula Le Guin & Margaret Atwood (Rebroadcast)

Longtime friends and accomplished writers Margaret Atwood and Ursula Le Guin share an open conversation about their writing processes.

Ursula Le Guin begins her lecture with Margaret Atwood by saying, “I emailed Margaret about six weeks or so ago and said, ‘What are we going to talk about?’ and she replied, ‘I expect we will talk about 1) What is fiction?; 2) What is science fiction?; 3) The ones who walk away from Omelas—where do they go?; 4) Is the human race doomed?; 5) Anything else that strikes our fancy.’” The two women proceed to examine these questions and talk through their answers. They delve into their writing processes and motives, creating many humorous analogies for the act of writing, whether they connect it to naked chickens, salted slugs, or dark boudoirs.

Margaret Atwood is a poet, novelist, short story writer, essayist, and environmental activist. She has written over 40 books and is best known for her fiction, including The Blind Assassin, which won the Man-Booker Prize in 2000. Atwood has used her public profile to advocate for human rights, the environment, and the welfare of writers. She has been president of PEN International and helped found the Writer’s Trust of Canada. As a public intellectual, Atwood is known as a brilliant thinker on a huge range of subjects who has a wry and ironic sense of humor and who is willing to call out platitudes and other forms of lazy thinking.

Ursula Kroeber Le Guin was born in 1929 in Berkeley, and passed away on January 22, 2018 in Portland, Oregon. She published 21 novels, 11 volumes of short stories, four collections of essays, 12 books for children, six volumes of poetry and four of translation, and has received many honors and awards including the Hugo, Nebula, National Book Award, and PEN-Malamud. Her most recent publications are Finding My Elegy: New and Selected Poems, 1960-2010 and The Unreal and the Real: Selected Short Stories, which received the 2012 Oregon Book Award for Fiction. (from www.ursulakleguin.com)

We are incredibly saddened by the news of her passing, are so grateful and honored to have known her, and thank her for her transformative contributions to international literature. Our thoughts are with her family, friends, loved ones, readers, and writers everywhere.


If we knew everything ahead of time, we wouldn’t write the book. It would be paint by numbers and there wouldn’t be any discoveries.” – Margaret Atwood

“Rereading a book is much better than reading it. A good book reread is better than a good book read.” – Ursula Le Guin

“All doors are doors to the future, if you go into them.” – Margaret Atwood

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