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Olga Ravn shortlisted for Ursula K. Le Guin Prize 2022

“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. We’ll need writers who can remember freedom—poets, visionaries—realists of a larger reality.” —Ursula K. Le Guin


Olga Ravn’s novella The Employees (New Directions), translated into English by Martin Aitken, has been shortlisted for the inaugural Ursula K. Le Guin Prize for Fiction, awarded to a book-length work of imaginative fiction. The Employees is told in a series of reports made by the crew – human and otherwise – of an intergenerational, deep space ship, set in a world where productivity has subsumed everything else. There is only work, and what people find in or despite of it: curiosity, attachment to strange objects, and an unsettled relationship with their humanoid colleagues.

The shortlist for the prize includes a total of nine books, to be considered by a panel of five jurors for a cash prize of $25,000. The award is intended to recognize those writers Ursula spoke of in her 2014 National Book Awards speech, quoted above, and writers whose work reflects the concepts and ideas that were central to Ursula’s own work, including but not limited to: hope, equity, and freedom; non-violence and alternatives to conflict; and a holistic view of humanity’s place in the natural world. The winner will be announced later this year on October 21st, 2022, Ursula K. Le Guin’s birthday. 


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