Books aren’t just commodities…

Reading time: Less than 1 minute

This is my weekly installment of “writing about writing,” in which I scan the world to find websites, books and articles to help other writers. Today I discuss a speech given by novelist Ursula Le Guin…..

I’ve never been a fan of fantasy or science fiction so I’ve never read the work of Ursula Le Guin. But I know who she is and I respect her as a writer and a thinker.

My admiration grew by leaps and bounds, however, when I heard (on the radio) and then read the speech she delivered when honored for her life’s work at the 2014 National Book Awards.

Apart from “dissing” awards committees for ignoring genre writers, in favour of the realists (and I agree with her complaint about that) she delivered a sound cuff on the ears to publishers for focusing on profit. Here is part of what she said:

Books aren’t just commodities; the profit motive is often in conflict with the aims of art. We live in capitalism, its power seems inescapable – but then, so did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings. Resistance and change often begin in art. Very often in our art, the art of words.

Her impassioned words are really a rallying cry for writers everywhere. Read her speech and decide what you think.

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