A brilliant summer day in downtown Portland, OR was the perfect venue for unveiling the new USPS stamp honoring our own Ursula K. Le Guin. The SFWA Grandmaster and BVC member long made her home here. We in the field have known and loved her work for decades, but a postage stamp is more than a personal honor. It’s a cultural accolade, demonstrating that Le Guin’s work is a major influence in American letters. She is only the 33rd American writer in the Postal Service’s Literary Arts series of stamps, joining icons like Mark Twain, John Steinbeck, and T.S. Eliot. More than movies, more than books – when you’re on a stamp you are an icon of national culture.
The ceremony was attended by Le Guin’s husband Charles, her son Theodore and his wife Nancy, and her granddaughter. Speakers included Linda Long, curator and archivist at the University of Oregon library, where all of Le Guin’s papers and letters are housed. Amy Wong, a book editor at the Portland Oregonian, spoke of Le Guin’s many letters to the newspaper, covering topics that ranged from protesting the cancellation of Star Trek to the nation’s democratic process. And granddaughter India Downs Le Guin spoke of living with her grandmother after graduate school.