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Watch: Ursula K. Le Guin’s Passionate Acceptance Speech


Author Ursula K. Le Guin shares her National Book Award with all the writers “who were excluded from literature for so long.”

To watch the full speech, click here.

American Masters presents the first documentary film exploring the remarkable life and legacy of the prolific and versatile author: Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin, premiering nationwide Friday, August 2 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings), and the PBS Video app.

- As a giant of literature who is finally getting recognized, I take enormous pleasure in awarding the 2014 medal for distinguished contribution to American letters to Ursule K. Le Guin.

(applauding) - All too often, people who are writers and artists who are marginalized and/or radical are basically ignore or mocked or denigrated for a long time, and then pass directly from there to being national treasures.

Essentially, you go from outsider to full domestication.

And one of the things that's so wonderful about Le Guin is that she would not, and will not, allow that to happen.

- I rejoice in accepting it for, and sharing it with, all the writers who were excluded from literature for so long, my fellow authors of fantasy and science fiction.

- This is why the speech that she gave when she won the sort of lifetime achievement, welcome to the canon award, to give it its invisible subtitle, was that is was ... a perfectly courteous but full on swinging attack on the undermining of art and aesthetics for profit within the publishing industry.

- Books, you know, they're not just commodities.

The profit motive is often in conflict with the aims of art.

We live in capitalism.

It's power seems inescapable.

So did the divine right of kings.

(audience laughing)