Arts, Faith and Humanities

Welcoming a Legend

Written by Amanda Jasper, Marketing Communications

October 13, 2015

view of the fountain and campus quad

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This fall Seattle University has the honor of welcoming science fiction legend Ursula Le Guin to speak at our campus. The university selected her 1971 novel The Lathe of Heaven to read as the common text for the incoming 2015 class of freshmen and transfer students. Le Guin will speak at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 28, in Campion Ballroom. 

(You must register for your free ticket at and bring a printed or mobile ticket with you for entry. Doors will open at 5 p.m., and admission of people on the waiting list will begin at 5:20 p.m.) 

"At its heart, ( The Lathe of Heaven ) asks us to consider the relationship between self and other-even more, our very conception of those two categories," says Kate Koppelman, director of the University Core, who with Monica Nixon, assistant vice president for student development, leads the Common Text Planning Group. "Le Guin has pointed out that the novel is strongly influenced by the Tao Te Ching-an influence we see in the chapter epigraphs but also in the way that the novel presents the relationship between self and other: the Tao's call to 'bring ourselves into agreement with the obscurity of others.' We're hopeful that this call, this challenge, is one that will resonate with the entire SU community. It is a challenge that is in harmony with SU's mission and, if taken seriously, with the most pressing issues of our current moment." 

Le Guin is considered by many to be a visionary author in the field of science fiction. Her novels have tackled subjects ranging from race, gender, and environmentalism to the way we live as a society and navigate the world around us. Remarkably many of these works were written in the 1960s and '70s, decades before these issues would rise to the public consciousness. Her books represent the type of depth and speculation that has become a hallmark of the science fiction genre, which she helped shape through her courageous words. 

Le Guin's works have won the highest accolades a writer in any field can hope to achieve. She has won a National Book Award, five Hugo Awards, five Nebula Awards, the National Book Foundation Medal, among others. Le Guin has influenced a generation of writers, readers and thinkers and is a giant in the field. 

In addition to her works for adults, Le Guin has also written many novels for children, pre-teens and young adults. She is also an accomplished poet, and has written many short stories and novellas. 

Le Guin's visit is being presented by the Office of the Provost, the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Science and Engineering, the Learning Communities Program, the University Core, the English Department and its Creative Writing Program, the Pigott-McCone Chair and the Philosophy Department.

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