A new stamp honoring visionary author Ursula K. Le Guin, the 33rd in USPS’s Literary Arts series, was dedicated July 27 in a ceremony at the Portland Art Museum in Oregon.
Le Guin wrote prodigiously in several genres — including short stories, essays, poetry and translations — but was best known for her pioneering science fiction.
“Ursula once said she wanted to see science fiction step over the old walls of convention and hit right into the next wall — and start to break it down, too,” said Joseph Corbett, the Postal Service’s chief financial officer and one of the speakers at the ceremony.
“She felt the ideas represented in her fiction could help people become more aware of other ways to do things, other ways to be and to help people wake up.”
In many ways, Le Guin saw her work as combining science with fiction, or the analytical with the intuitive: “Both directions strike me as becoming more and more sterile the farther you follow them,” she told the New Yorker magazine.
“It’s when they can combine that you get something fertile and living and leading forward.”
The California native lived for more than half a century in the same house in Portland. She felt a deep kinship with the state. She and her husband also owned a ranch in Oregon’s high desert.
Corbett was joined at the ceremony by the author’s granddaughter, India Downes-Le Guin; Linda Long of the University of Oregon Libraries; Amy Wang, a columnist with The Oregonian; and arts writer Martha Ullman West.
The 95-cent stamp depicts a scene from Le Guin’s breakthrough novel “The Left Hand of Darkness” with her portrait, based on a 2006 photograph, superimposed.
Donato Giancola was the artist for the stamp and Antonio Alcalá was the art director.
The stamps are for use on 3-ounce letters and will always be valid for that weight. They can be purchased at Post Offices and usps.com.