Last night (November 19th) Ursula Le Guin accepted the National Book Foundation's Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. 'I think hard times are coming', she said in her acceptance speech, ' when we will be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now and can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, and even imagine some real grounds for hope. We will need writers who can remember freedom. Poets, visionaries—the realists of a larger reality.' She is such a writer, and earlier this year I was lucky enough to visit her at her Portland home. The profile I wrote for the Guardian is here. A full transcript of her speech is here and video is here. 'We who live by writing and publishing want—and should demand—our fair share of the proceeds,' she said last night. 'But the name of our beautiful reward is not profit. Its name is freedom.'