A Wizard Of Earthsea is a fantasy novel written for young adults by American author Ursula K. Le Guin. It was first published in 1968 by a small publishing house called Parnassus. Early concepts for the book were explored in two short stories, "The Rule Of Names" and "The World Of Unbinding", both introducing Le Guin's interpretation of magic but not going so far as to introduce any of the Earthsea characters. The owner of Parnassus Press, Herman Schein, asked Le Guin to write a book for older kids and gave her complete freedom with regards to subject and approach. Schein's wife, Ruth Robbins,was the illustrator of the book. Drawing on ideas formulated in her short stories, Le Guin has said that the book was in part her own curiosity about wizards and the universal impression of them as ancient and wise.
The Wizard Of Earthsea is set in the fictional archipelago of Earthsea and follows the education of a young Mage called Ged. He joins the school of wizardry and his story is credited as introducing the idea of a school for wizards which would later be made famous by the Harry Potter books.
Le Guin's novel is widely regarded as a classic both in the fantasy and young-adult literature genres. It was one of the recipients of the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award that recognizes outstanding children's literature and has been compared to major fantasy works such as The Lord Of The Rings. There are five subsequent books making up the six volume Earthsea Cycle.