蘑菇影院

Ursula K. Le Guin鈥檚 home will become a writers residency

FILE - Ursula K. Le Guin, an American author of novels and children's books, poses for a photo at home on Sept. 9, 2001, in Portland, Ore. The former home of the late Le Guin is being readied to become a base for contemporary authors. Literary Arts announced Monday, June 10, 2024, that Le Guin鈥檚 family had donated their three-story house to the Portland, Oregon-based community nonprofit for what will become the Ursula K. Le Guin Writers Residency. (Benjamin Brink/The Oregonian via 蘑菇影院)

FILE - Ursula K. Le Guin, an American author of novels and children鈥檚 books, poses for a photo at home on Sept. 9, 2001, in Portland, Ore. The former home of the late Le Guin is being readied to become a base for contemporary authors. Literary Arts announced Monday, June 10, 2024, that Le Guin鈥檚 family had donated their three-story house to the Portland, Oregon-based community nonprofit for what will become the Ursula K. Le Guin Writers Residency. (Benjamin Brink/The Oregonian via 蘑菇影院)

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Theo Downes-Le Guin, son of the late author Ursula K. Le Guin, remembers well the second-floor room where his mother worked on some of her most famous novels.

Or at least how it seemed from the outside.

鈥淪he was very present and accessible as a parent,鈥 he says. 鈥淪he was very intent on not burdening her children with her career. ... But the times when she was in there to do her writing, we knew that we needed to let her have her privacy.鈥

Downes-Le Guin, who also serves as his mother鈥檚 literary executor, now hopes to give contemporary authors access to her old writing space. Literary Arts, a community nonprofit based in Portland, Oregon, announced Monday that Le Guin鈥檚 family had donated their three-story house for what will become the Ursula K. Le Guin Writers Residency.

Le Guin, who died in 2018 at age 88, was a Berkeley, California, native who in her early 30s moved to Portland with her husband, Charles. Le Guin wrote such classics as 鈥淭he Left Hand of Darkness鈥 and 鈥淭he Dispossessed鈥 in her home, mostly in a corner space that evolved from a nursery for her three children to a writing studio.

鈥淥ur conversations with Ursula and her family began in 2017,鈥 the executive director of Literary Arts, Andrew Proctor, said in a statement. 鈥淪he had a clear vision for her home to become a creative space for writers and a beacon for the broader literary community.鈥

No date has been set for when the residency will begin. Literary Arts has launched for maintaining the house and for operating an office in town.

The Le Guins lived in a 19th century house designed out of a Sears & Roebuck catalog, and the author鈥檚 former studio looks out on a garden, a towering redwood tree planted decades ago by the family, and, in the distance, Mount St. Helens. Downes-Le Guin does not want the house to seem like a museum, or a time capsule, but expects that reminders of his mother, from her books to her rock collection, will remain.

While writers in residence will be welcome to use her old writing room, the author鈥檚 son understands if some might feel 鈥渋ntimidated鈥 to occupy the same space as one the world鈥檚 most celebrated authors.

鈥淚 wouldn鈥檛 want anyone to be in there in this constant state of reverence, which would be against the spirit of the residency,鈥 he says.

According to Literary Arts, residents will be chosen by an advisory council that will include 鈥渓iterary professionals鈥 and a Le Guin family member. Writers 鈥渨ill be asked to engage with the local community in a variety of literary activities, such as community-wide readings and workshops.鈥 The residency will be year-round, with a single writer at a time living in the house. The length of individual residencies will vary, as some writers may have family or work obligations that would limit their availability. Downes-Le Guin says he wants the residency to feel inclusive, available to a wide range of authors, and selective.

鈥淲e don鈥檛 want it just to be for authors who already have had residencies elsewhere,鈥 he says. 鈥淏ut we鈥檒l want applicants to demonstrate that they鈥檙e seriously engaged in the work. We want people who will make the most of this.鈥