Birth and family
Ursula Kroeber was the daughter of anthropologist Alfred L. Kroeber and writer Theodora Kroeber.
Childhood and education
Ursula and her three older brothers, Karl, Theodore, and Clifford, were encouraged to read and were exposed to their parents' dynamic friend group. In retrospect, she is grateful for the ease and happiness of her upbringing. The encouraging environment fostered Le Guin's interest in literature; her first fantasy story was written at age 9, her first science fiction story submitted for publication in the magazine Astounding Science Fiction at age 11. The family spent the academic year in Berkeley, retreating to a Napa Valley estate in the summers. She was interested in biology and poetry, but found math difficult. Le Guin attended Berkeley High School. She received her B.A. (Phi Beta Kappa) in Renaissance French and Italian literature from Radcliffe College in 1951, and M.A. in French and Italian literature from Columbia University in 1952. Soon after, Le Guin began her Ph.D. work and won a Fulbright grant to continue her studies in France from 1953-54.
Marriage and family
In 1953, while traveling to France, Le Guin met her future husband, historian Charles Le Guin (French pronunciation: [lǝ gɛ̃] or [lǝ ɡʷin]). They married later that year in Paris. After marrying, Le Guin chose not to continue her doctoral studies of the poet Jean Lemaire de Belges.
The couple returned to the US so that he could pursue his Ph.D. at Emory University. During this time, she worked as a secretary and taught French at the university level. Their first two children, Elizabeth (1957) and Caroline (1959), were born in Idaho, where Charles taught. Later, in 1959, the Le Guins moved to Portland, Oregon, where they still reside. Charles is Professor Emeritus of History at Portland State University. During this time, she continued to make time for writing in addition to maintaining her family life. In 1964, her third child, Theodore, was born.