Monday, December 29, 2014

Verbatim Transcript Courtesy Parker Higgins: Ursula Le Guin

"We will need writers who can remember freedom."  
Ursula Le Guin

In other words, We need you.

MoMA’s New Curatorial Guard | ARTnews

A fascinating article about the new visionary curators who are shaping and changing the world of art and American culture at the curatorial level at MoMA.  With inspiration and with hopes that a new era in curatorial and American art that will be far reaching at home and abroad.  A new vision is forecast that will make our American cultural history and contribution to the global history of art going forward greater than ever. With visionary artists forthcoming, these curators will realize a promise of a greater, finer and more sublime American art and history.

MoMA’s New Curatorial Guard | ARTnews

Artists, Writers, Designers, Poets and Visionaries: Please Consider the Important Challenge that Follows

Ursula Le Guin’s Viral Video: “We Will Need Writers Who Can Remember Freedom”

December 27, 2014 by Staff

This post first appeared on

In the midst of all the end-of-the-year lists and reminiscences, there is a speech that made the social media rounds recently that we thought deserved a special mention here at
In accepting the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters at this year's National Book Awards, eminent sci-fi writer Ursula Le Guin made a knock-out speech about the power of capitalism, literature and imagination that, as she put it afterwards, "went sort-of viral on YouTube."
The 85-year-old writer started with a shout-out to her fellow fantasy and sci-fi writers, who have for so long watched “the beautiful awards,” like the one she’d just received, go to the “so-called realists.” She continued:
I think hard times are coming when we will be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now and can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, and even imagine some real grounds for hope. We will need writers who can remember freedom. Poets, visionaries — the realists of a larger reality. ...
Books, you know, they’re not just commodities. The profit motive often is 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. In good company. Now here, 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.
Le Guin's speech was fully transcribed by Parker Higgins, an activist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco. You can read the entire speech at Higgins's blog.
In 2000, Bill Moyers interviewed Le Guin about the 1980 PBS adaptation of her 1971 book, The Lathe of Heaven, that became the most requested film ever in the PBS archives. The plot revolves around the main character's dreams altering reality. Le Guin tells Bill she was very skeptical that it could be adapted for television. We're working on adding the show to our archive, but in the meantime, here's a version from YouTube