“The artist deals in what cannot be said in words. The artist whose medium is fiction does this in words. The novelist says in words what cannot be said in words.” ~ Ursula K. Le Guin, Introduction to The Left Hand of Darkness (1976)
Continuing the theme of AWP 2014 highlights, the final session I attended was “A Reading and Conversation with Molly Gloss and Ursula K Le Guin.” The two women have been friends for over thirty years, since Gloss was a once-in-a-lifetime kind of student in Le Guin’s writing workshops.
Both authors were charming, forthright, and informative, and the audience was treated to several candid, memorable lines and moments. For example, when asked if they went on writers’ retreats in their early careers, Le Guin replied that “retreat” sounds too much as though a battle had been lost.
The session ended with their reading from unpublished works, in Le Guin’s case, a short story she is shopping around that had recently been rejected, reminding the audience that even for someone with five Hugo Awards and as many Nebula Awards, the process never stops.
Read Ursula K. Le Guin’s Paris Review interview.
Missed AWP this year? No worries. Watch an even more extended conversation Le Guin had last year at UC Berkeley (go to the 4:45 mark if you want to skip the introduction):