Office of the President and Provost (Equality, Diversity & Inclusion)


The matter of Black lives: reading group

07 October 2020, 5:00 pm–6:30 pm

Image taken at a Black Lives Matter protest

Ursula K. Le Guin: “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” and N.K. Jemisin: “The Ones Who Stay and Fight”

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to

UCL staff | UCL students







During this resurgence of Black Lives Matter, what can science fiction teach us about injustice and ethical action?

We will discuss issues like structural racism, disability, antiBlackness and cisheteronormativity by reading Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas (1973) alongside N.K. Jemisin’s The Ones Who Stay and Fight (2018). Le Guin and Jemisin represent two generations of feminist science fiction: Le Guin as a legendary white writer influenced by anthropology and Jemisin as a current literary superstar considered an Afrofuturist, a tradition of Black speculative imagination.

The older iconic short story presents a thought experiment about utopia and the suffering required to sustain it. The newer classic offers a rebuttal that imagines the struggles needed to build a better world. What does it mean to walk away from an unjust society or to stay and fight to transform it?

Participants are expected to have read the texts in advance: