A literary icon, Le Guin was popular for her Earthsea books. She won a National Book Award in 2014 and made news for pointing out in her acceptance speech that "profit must not decide what is good literature".
She was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 1997, a rare achievement for a science fiction-fantasy writer. This was even after she openly criticised the "commercial machinery of bestsellerdom and prizedom."
In the speech that year, she was quoted: "I really don't want to watch American literature get sold down the river. We who live by writing and publishing want -- and should demand -- our fair share of the proceeds. But the name of our beautiful reward is not profit. Its name is freedom."
Le Guin gained fame with "The Left Hand of Darkness," which won the Hugo and Nebula awards, top science-fiction honours.
Her best-known works, the Earthsea books, established her as a successful and commercially-viable writer even though she did not wish to conform to those ideas of success. She also wrote volumes of short stories, poetry, essays and literature for young adults.