Author Spotlight: Octavia E. Butler


“Most of us don’t have to worry about being shot if we poke our noses outside. So we are comfortable, but the people I’m writing about are definitely not comfortable, and being shot while they’re still inside is a good possibility.”

For Reading is the New Black’s first author spotlight, I’ve decided to introduce to my readers my favorite unsung author – Octavia E. Butler.

Octavia E. Butler was born on June 22, 1947 in Pasadena, California. As a child she was drawn to science fiction magazine and soon branched out to reading the science fiction classics. At the age of 12, Octavia was inspired to begin writing science fiction after watching a bad science fiction movie. She thought that she could write better stories than the movie – the rest is history.

This MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant recipient penned five science fiction series and a number of short stories before her death on February 24, 2006.

Why you should know who she is and read her works –

The genre of science fiction is a predominately white, male field so to be a successful Black, gay, female writer in this genre is something to make a big deal about. Her protagonists tend to be Black women set in dystopian futures or in parallel realities. Her writing isn’t always viewed as your typical science fiction read, you won’t find futuristic weapons and interplanetary travel. For those who like to nit pick, work falls in to the speculative fiction realm of science fiction.

Her books are rich with social criticism, off the top of my head I can talk about the themes of class, race, and gender that I picked up on while reading The Patternist and Parable Series. Altogether, I’ve read 6 of her novels and have made it a personal goal of mine to read all of her published works.

Her novel, Kindred is on the 2013 reading list. I chose this novel because it one of her two stand alone novels, and I also have never read it. I hope you all vote for it.

If you would like to know more about Octavia E. Butler (other than Wikipedia), click on the links below.

The official Octavia E. Butler website

NPR Essay – UN Racism Conference



1 Comment

Filed under Author Spotlight

One response to “Author Spotlight: Octavia E. Butler

  1. I needed to thank you for this very good read!! I certainly enjoyed every little bit of it. I’ve got you bookmarked to check out new things you post…

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