The National Book Foundation's announced that this year's recipient of the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters is Ursula K. Le Guin. In an added bit of joy to an already excellent piece of news, Neil Gaiman will present her with the award.
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The Distinguished Contribution Medal recognizes those who have "enriched [American] literary heritage over a life of service, or a corpus of work." With Earthsea, The Left Hand of Darkness, The Dispossessed, Always Coming Home, The Hainish Cycle, Lavinia, and everything else, that is a description that absolutely describes Le Guin.
On November 19, Le Guin will join Toni Morrison, Ray Bradbury, Arthur Miller, Joan Didion, and many others as the 27th recipient of the Medal. The press release from the National Book Foundation reads:
In recognition of her transformative impact on American literature, Ursula K. Le Guin is the 2014 recipient of the Foundation's Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. She is the Foundation's twenty-seventh award recipient.
For more than forty years, Le Guin has defied conventions of narrative, language, character, and genre, as well as transcended the boundaries between fantasy and realism, to forge new paths for literary fiction. Among the nation's most revered writers of science fiction and fantasy, Le Guin's fully imagined worlds challenge readers to consider profound philosophical and existential questions about gender, race, the environment, and society. Her boldly experimental and critically acclaimed novels, short stories, and children's books, written in elegant prose, are popular with millions of readers around the world.
"Ursula Le Guin has had an extraordinary impact on several generations of readers and, particularly, writers in the United States and around the world," said Harold Augenbraum, the Foundation's Executive Director. "She has shown how great writing will obliterate the antiquated—and never really valid—line between popular and literary art. Her influence will be felt for decades to come."
Now, excuse me, writing this just made me want to go re-read everything I have of Le Guin's.