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Marian Wood Kolish

The Imaginative Reality of Ursula K. Le Guin

March 28, 2018

Ursula K. Le Guin left behind a legacy unparalleled in American letters when she passed away this January at the age of eighty-eight. Named a Living Legend by the Library of Congress for her contributions to America’s cultural heritage—the author of more than sixty books of fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, children’s literature, drama, criticism, and translation—she was one of only a select few writers (the others being Eudora Welty, Saul Bellow, and Philip Roth) to have their life’s work enshrined in the Library of America while still actively writing. She joined the likes of Toni Morrison, John Ashbery, and Joan Didion in receiving the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters by the National Book Foundation, and her work garnered countless awards: the National Book Award, the PEN/Malamud, six Nebulas, six Hugos, and twenty-one Locus awards among them. Her name regularly appeared on the Nobel Prize for Literature short list, and writers as varied as Neil Gaiman, Salman Rushdie, David Mitchell, and Zadie Smith herald her as an influence. I believe you could start anywhere in her vast canon of work—with her poems, her translations of Gabriela Mistral or Lao Tzu, her remarkable book reviews, or her activism on behalf of writers, women, and the environment—to begin to understand the importance of Ursula K. Le Guin to both the world of letters and the world at large. But she was best known for her fiction, most notably her novels, and most specifically her books of science fiction and fantasy. And fiction, the genre she admittedly felt most comfortable talking about, was the occasion for the conversation that follows.

Illustration by Ina Jang

The Male Glance

In the spring of 2013, HBO conducted a sly experiment on the “elite” TV-viewing public. It aired two new shows—both buddy dramas—back to back. Each was conceived as a short self-contained season, limited by design to a small number of episodes. Each had a single talented and idiosyncratic director for the entire season, and each dispensed with the writers’ room in favor of a unified authorial vision. 

VQR Online

Posts from Meera Subramanian's Instagram series, "Elemental India."

#VQRTrueStory

December 7, 2015

#VQRtruestory is our new social-media experiment in nonfiction, bringing readers compelling stories and images from around the world, all through our Instagram feed.

The Death of Pablo Neruda

May 5, 2015

“Looking back now, I could have so easily walked to that cemetery and joined the men and women chanting next to his coffin,” Ariel Dorfman confesses. In addition to the documentary, "The Death of Pablo Neruda," this multimedia work includes an essay, “From Beyond the Grave,” by Dorfman, poetry by Martín Espada and Idra Novey, and a translation of Neruda’s poem “XII from The Heights of Macchu Picchu” by Mark Eisner.

VQR Nominated for Four National Magazine Awards

January 15, 2015

The American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME) today recognized the Virginia Quarterly Review with four nominations for its prestigious National Magazine Awards—the magazine world’s equivalent of the Pulitzer Prizes. VQR was named as a finalist [...]