Six New Ursula K. Le Guin Shorts Feature Never-Seen-Before Footage of Author

Photo by Marian Wood Kolisch.

During the shooting of the award-winning documentary Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin, director Arwen Curry compiled a significant amount of footage. Not all of it could make it into the documentary, but Curry, along with the Ursula K. Le Guin Foundation, have pulled some of this footage together into a project called The Journey That Matters, which includes six video shorts centered on the legendary author.

“Spending time with Ursula meant having access to her warm, wise perceptions about all kinds of questions in literature and life,” Curry said in a statement. “With these little films, I hope to share some of that abundance.”

The first short, “What It Was Like,” is already available to view on LitHub. In it, Le Guin reads an essay about her experience getting an illegal abortion in 1950 when she was a senior in college, highlighting how women’s success and happiness is predicated on bodily autonomy. The five remaining shorts will be released weekly on LitHub, and feature Le Guin talking about her childhood, her writing process, her trust in her imagination, her relationship with her husband, Charles, and her decision to make most of her characters people of color. They also include commentary from adrienne maree brown, Julie Phillips, Nisi Shawl, and others, and have introductions from writers John Plotz, Ebony Elizabeth Thomas, Khadija Abdalla Bajaber, and Julie Phillips, as well as Le Guin’s three children, Elisabeth, Caroline, and Theo.

“What It Was Like” is available now. The five subsequent shorts will appear each Wednesday through October 18, 2023, and readers can sign up for Lit Hub’s newsletter to receive series updates. The shorts will also be available on Projectr (, a new streaming platform for public libraries and universities.

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