I was thinking about tricksters and detectives when a friend of mine sent me this link to Ursula Le Guin’s acceptance speech at the National Book Awards. In about six minutes, she politely (well, she speaks softly and she is a little old lady — and she can make a shrug and a half-smile go the distance) lambasts the publishing industry, and points to where their bums are hanging out. She begins by accepting her award in the name of her family and agents, but then goes on to accept in the name of all those “writers of the imagination” who, for the past 50 years, watched the big awards go to “the so-called realists“.
Le Guin (aka Grandmother Coyote) goes on to say that she thinks hard times are upon us, when we need 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 grounds for hope. We will need the writers who remember freedom, the poets and visionaries…the realists of a larger reality.” (italics mine)