At the 2014 National Book Awards, revolutionary science-fiction author Ursula K. Le Guin was awarded the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, an award which recognizes writers who have made a significant impact on the country’s literary tradition. During her acceptance speech, the distinguished author spoke of the dangers of a profit-focused publishing industry and the limited vision of art that is produced for marketing purposes.

“The profit motive is often in conflict with the aims of art. We live in capitalism, its power seems inescapable–but then, so did the divine right of kings. […] Resistance and change often begin in art. Very often in our art, the art of words.”

Ursula Le Guin sees the responsibility and power of fiction to be how it can imagine new ways of living. She looks especially towards the next generation of writers to carry this mission forward.

“Hard times are coming, when we’ll be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now, can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, and even imagine real grounds for hope.”

Here at the Octavia Project we could not agree more. That is why we are committed to providing space and resources for the next generation of diverse women science-fiction and fantasy writers, thinkers, and makers–allowing them to imagine new futures for themselves and their communities.

Wizard of Earthsea
Photo source: Simon Jones. Some rights reserved.