Rebecca Campbell with ArborealityA novella by Rebecca Campbell, sessional instructor in English and creative writing, won the Ursula K. Le Guin Prize for Fiction.

Instructor’s environmental eulogy earns literary award

Academic and author Rebecca Campbell, a sessional instructor in English and creative writing, has been awarded the 2023 Ursula K. Le Guin Prize for Fiction for Arboreality, a novella expansion of her short story “An Important Failure,” winner of the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award.

The Ursula K. Le Guin website describes Dr. Campbell’s book this way: “In looping, linked stories that travel through generations, Campbell explores the effects of climate change on one slice of British Columbia: what might happen as the planet changes, and how regular people might remake their homes by growing together and reconsidering other, gentler ways to live in a drastically reshaped world.”

Campbell says Le Guin has been a huge part of her life since she was a kid.

“I’ve returned to her work over and over again,” she says. “Maybe because she tackles ideas that are so important now: how do we live ethically with one another? What are our responsibilities to the earth and to our society? What does a just society even look like?

“Finding my book on a list in any way associated with her legacy is hard to even imagine. I’m just full of gratitude.”

She is also excited to see Stelliform Press recognized for its work: “In fact, the book wouldn’t exist without Selena Middleton, who founded Stelliform — I owe her and her press a lot!”

Campbell is a self-described “Canadian writer of weird stories and climate change fiction.” Her work has appeared in The Year’s Best Science Fiction, The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy, The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror, and The Best Science Fiction of the Year, Volumes 5 & 6, in addition to many contemporary magazines, including The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Clarkesworld, and Interzone.

She won the Sunburst award for short fiction in 2020 for “The Fourth Trimester is the Strangest" and the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award in 2021 for “An Important Failure.” NeWest Press published her first novel, The Paradise Engine, in 2013.

The Ursula K. Le Guin Prize for Fiction is an annual $25,000 cash prize given to a writer for a single work of imaginative fiction.

—Susan McKee