National Endowment for the Arts - The Big Read
A Wizard of Earthsea

A Wizard of Earthsea

by Ursula K. Le Guin

To me a novel can be as beautiful as any symphony, as beautiful as the sea.


Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Ursula K. Le Guin

1920s
E. R. Eddison brings out his epic fantasy The Worm Ouroboros, 1922.
Book-of-the-Month Club is founded, 1926.
Ursula Kroeber is born in Berkeley, California, on October 21, 1929.

1930s
Ursula Kroeber grows up surrounded by books and three older brothers, and passes her summers on a ranch in the Napa Valley.
T. H. White publishes his beloved Arthurian fantasy, The Sword in the Stone, 1938.
The first Worldcon—science fiction's annual convention—takes place, 1939.

1940s
This is the great decade of the science fiction and fantasy magazines, including Amazing Stories, Astounding Science Fiction, Startling Stories, and Thrilling Wonder Stories.
Ursula Kroeber enters Radcliffe College, 1947.
Mervyn Peake creates his expressionist Gothic masterpiece, Titus Groan (1946), followed by Gormenghast (1950) and Titus Alone (1959).

1950s
This is the heyday of flying saucers, alien invaders, the space race, comic-book heroes, and fears of atomic disaster.
Ursula Kroeber continues her studies in romance languages at Columbia; marries historian Charles Le Guin, 1953.
J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings is published, 1954–55.

1960s
The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, and Star Trek become hit television shows.
Maurice Sendak revolutionizes children's picture books with Where the Wild Things Are (1963).
Ursula K. Le Guin begins to publish science fiction and fantasy. A Wizard of Earthsea (1968) receives the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award.

1970s
Le Guin grows increasingly active as a teacher, mentor, and example to younger writers of fantasy and science fiction, particularly women.
Angela Carter's The Bloody Chamber (1979) re-imagines classic fairy tales from a feminist perspective.
Fantasy becomes a dominant aspect of much innovative fiction around the world, notably in the work of Italo Calvino, Jorge Luis Borges, John Barth, Donald Barthelme, and many others.

1980s
John Crowley creates a genuinely American fantasy classic, Little, Big, 1981.
Le Guin creates the dossier-like Always Coming Home (1985), the portrait of a peaceful, cooperative culture. She also brings out a series of fairy tales and picture books for young children.
More and more women publish science fiction and fantasy, including Joanna Russ, C.J. Cherryh, Octavia E. Butler, Tanith Lee, Karen Joy Fowler, and Connie Willis.

1990s
Author websites, fan groups, and online discussions of fantasy and science fiction proliferate on the Internet.
Le Guin returns to Earthsea with Tehanu, 1990.
Philip Pullman publishes The Golden Compass (1996), followed by The Subtle Knife (1997), and The Amber Spyglass (2000).

2000s
Le Guin continues to write innovative fiction and essays about literature, politics, and the imagination.
Peter Jackson's The Return of the King wins the Oscar for best picture, 2003.
With Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, J. K. Rowling completes her seven-volume series about the education of a young wizard, 2007.

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