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The map of Earthsea, used courtesy of Ursula Le Guin


The map of Earthsea is used courtesy of its designer, the incomparable Ursula K. Le Guin.

Ursula K. Le Guin wasn?t the first writer to send a wizard to school, but she was the first to describe the experience.  A Wizard of Earthsea provided a model that has been emulated by later fantasy writers.  By depicting the formative years of wizards, she humanized them and expanded the possibilities for how wizards can be presented in fiction. Today, we hear from Ursula K. Le Guin, Michael Chabon, Michael Dirda, Walter Mosley, and R.L. Stine. Make sure to listen to the entire piece. "Tense" doesn't begin to describe what unravels at Roke, the famed wizard school in the book. It's not pretty.

[audio:http://bigreadblog.arts.gov//audio/WizardSchool.mp3]

[transcript]

To hear the entire half-hour audio guide, visit The Big Read site.

In case you're curious, the excerpt is read by actor KenYatta Rogers. Music is from the album Metascapes by Todd Barton, and from the soundtrack to the film Brick by The Cinematic Underground.

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