Socrates said, “The misuse of language induces evil in the soul.” He wasn’t talking about grammar. To misuse language is to use it the way politicians and advertisers do, for profit, without taking responsibility for what the words mean. Language used as a means to get power or make money goes wrong: it lies. Language used as an end in itself, to sing a poem or tell a story, goes right, goes towards the truth.
A writer is a person who cares what words mean, what they say, how they say it. Writers know words are their way towards truth and freedom, and so they use them with care, with thought, with fear, with delight. By using words well they strengthen their souls. Story-tellers and poets spend their lives learning that skill and art of using words well. And their words make the souls of their readers stronger, brighter, deeper.
~ Ursula K. Le Guin
Ursula Kroeber Le Guin (pron.: /ˈɜrsələ ˈkroʊbər ləˈɡwɪn/; born October 21, 1929) is an American author of novels, children’s books, and short stories, mainly in the genres of fantasy and science fiction. She has also written poetry and essays.
First published in the 1960s, her work has often depicted futuristic or imaginary worlds alternative to our own in politics, natural environment, gender, religion, sexuality and ethnography. She has been influenced by fantasy writers like J.R.R. Tolkien, by science fiction writers like Philip K. Dick, by central figures of Western literature like Leo Tolstoy, Virgil and The Brontë sisters, and including feminist writers like Virginia Woolf, by children’s literature like Alice in Wonderland, The Wind in the Willows, The Jungle Book, by Norse mythology, and by books from the Eastern tradition such as the Tao Te Ching.
In turn, she has influenced Booker prize winners and other writers, such as Salman Rushdie and David Mitchell— and notable futurism and fantasy writers like Neil Gaiman and Iain Banks. She has won the Hugo Award, Nebula Award, Locus Award, and World Fantasy Award several times each.