‘Below Le Guin’s analysis lies a hidden assumption: If a book is published by a major house, it must be good.’
Ursula K Le Guin was given a lifetime achievement award, and she said some naive things. Ursula K. Le Guin’s November 19 speech at the National Book Awards in New York struck a nerve. My nerve. In six minutes, after accepting the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, the grande dame of American science fiction and fantasy lambasted her own publishers who charge libraries “six or seven times the price for books they charge their customers,” “profiteers” (read: Amazon) who tried to punish a publisher (read: Hachette) for “disobedience,” and fellow writers whom she says have buckled under the imperative for profit. “We need writers who know the difference between the production of a commodity and the practice of an art,” she said.
Le Guin spoke many truths, but her speech left me cold. Was it envy? I wondered how one as intelligent and honest could so easily…
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