DREAM BIG Little Leader: Who is Octavia E. Butler?

Octavia E. Butler an author best known for blending science fiction with African-American spiritualism. Her novels include ‘Patternmaster,’ ‘Kindred,’ ‘Dawn’ and ‘Parable of the Sower.

Butler started her writing career in the early twenties. She broke new ground as a woman and an African American in the realm of science fiction. Butler thrived in a genre typically dominated by white males.

For some writers, science fiction serves as means to delve into fantasy. But for Butler, it largely served as a vehicle to address issues facing humanity. It was this passionate interest in the human experience that imbued her work with a certain depth and complexity. In the mid-1980s, Butler began to receive critical recognition for her work. She won the 1984 Best Short Story Hugo Award for “Speech Sounds.” That same year, the novelette “Bloodchild” won a Nebula Award and later a Hugo as well.

In the late 1980s, Butler published her Xenogenesis trilogy—Dawn (1987), Adulthood Rites (1988) and Imago (1989). This series of books explores issues of genetics and race. To insure their mutual survival, humans reproduce with aliens known as the Oankali. Butler received much praise for this trilogy. She went on to write the two-installment Parable series—Parable of the Sower (1993) and Parable of the Talents (1998).

In 1995, Butler received a “genius” grant from the MacArthur Foundation—becoming the first science-fiction writer to do so—which allowed her to buy a house for her mother and herself.

You can find Octavia’s full book collection here.

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