An ecofeminist and utopian perspective on The Word For World Is Forest

Detail from The Word for World Is Forest cover art showing a night sky through trees

My presentation from the The Word for World is Forest symposium is now available online! Find it on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, Spotify,, PlayerFM and more. Wherever you get your podcasts, as they say.

The title of the presentation is ‘The Word For World Is Forest as Ecofeminist and Utopian Text’. It was recorded live in October 2022 during a one day symposium organised by The Anarres Project.

The symposium was a celebration of the 50 year anniversary of the publication of Ursula Le Guin’s novella The Word for World is Forest. Its particular aim was to consider how the novella might continue to inform social justice movements today.

My argument centres around how the structure of The Word for World is Forest is inconsistent with the ecofeminist ideas within the text. I suggest the lesson to draw from this is we need to consider the structure as well as the content of our thoughts around social justice, along with that of whatever media we use to convey our ideas. This is something I think Le Guin goes on to do in later essays and novels, particularly Always Coming Home.*

*I’ve written a separate essay on Always Coming Home, which you can find here.

“Academic-wise, I do literary criticism”

I haven’t watched the video back yet, because cringe. But I saw the first two minutes and it’s a beaut. Hear me explain that my area ‘academic-wise’ is something called “lit-er-ary crit-i-cism”? In my defence it was a multi-disciplinary symposium. Also, I don’t know whether I’m even in academia or not at this stage. I also do the classic thing of not being able to get my slides to work. But again, forgive me, for this was my first time presenting over Zoom.

I believe the presentation gets better as I get into the swing of it so do stick with it if you can bear it. If not, I’m going to be writing it up into something respectable soon so you could always hang on and wait for that. (Possible publication date could be before the end of 2023? Who knows.)

Videos of the other presentations at the symposium should be appearing soon so be sure to subscribe to The Annares Project on YouTube to catch them all.

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