Ursula K. Le Guin, renown fantasy and science fiction author, received the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters at the 65th National Book Awards on November 19, 2014. This is what she said about writers, resistance, and freedom.

I think hard times are coming when we will be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now…. We will need writers who can remember freedom….

Right now, I think we need writers who know the difference between production of a market commodity and the practice of an art…. And I see a lot of us, the producers who write the books, and make the books… letting commodity profiteers sell us like deodorant….

Books are not just commodities. The profit motive is often in conflict with the aims of art. We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable. 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, and very often in our art, the art of words….

I have had a long career and a good one…. At the end of it, I really don’t want to watch American literature get sold down the river. We who live by writing and publishing want and should demand our fair share of the proceeds. But the name of our beautiful reward is not profit. Its name is freedom.

Ursala Le Guin

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