Ursula Kroeber Le Guin (; October 21, 1929 – January 22, 2018) was an American author. She is best known for her works of speculative fiction, including science fiction works set in her Hainish Universe, and the Earthsea fantasy series. First published in 1959, she had a literary career spanning nearly sixty years, during which she released more than twenty novels and over a hundred short stories, in addition to many volumes of poetry, literary criticism, translations, and children's books. Frequently described as an "author of science fiction", Le Guin has said she would prefer to be known as an "American novelist", and has also been called a "major voice in American Letters".Le Guin was born in Berkeley, California, to author Theodora Kroeber and scholar Alfred Louis Kroeber. Having earned a master's degree in French, Le Guin began doctoral studies, but abandoned these after her marriage in 1953 to historian Charles Le Guin. She began writing full-time in the late 1950s, and achieved major critical and commercial success with A Wizard of Earthsea (1968) and The Left Hand of Darkness (1969)—described by Harold Bloom as her masterpieces. For the latter volume Le Guin won both the Hugo and Nebula awards for best novel, becoming the first woman to do so. Several more works set in Earthsea or the Hainish Universe followed; other significant pieces include the experimental work Always Coming Home (1985), works set in the fictional country of Orsinia, and many anthologies.