Happy birthday Octavia Butler!!
The genius writer Octavia Butler would have been 72 years today!
An interview with Ms. Butler on “Transcending Boundaries”
An NPR interview with Ms. Butler and an essay by her.
She was the recipient of several Hugo and Nebula Awards. She was also the first writer of speculative fiction to receive a MacArthur Fellowship.
Three favorites of Well-Read Black Girl, a brilliant black literature resource:
Perhaps Butler’s best-known work, Kindred, reimagines the time travel narrative. The novel’s protagonist Dana moves between 20th century Los Angeles and the antebellum South, where she witnesses the savagery of American slavery. In the process, Dana recuperates some of the erased history that has led to her contemporary moment.
2.) Bloodchild and Other Stories
Bloodchild was a breakout work for Butler, earning her the Hugo and the Nebula in the novelette category. It takes as its premise a world in which insect-like organisms called Tilc establish a parasitic relationship with humans. The collection gathers “Bloodchild” with other works of short fiction by Butler and works as an excellent introduction to the writer’s work for those interested in shorter forms.
3.) Parable of the Sower from the Parable/Earthseed series
Parable of the Sower is the first of the two-book Earthseed/Parable series. Set in a future society that has been ravaged by climate change and economic stratification, its heroine is a young woman living in a gated community who suffers from “hyperempathy” which makes her feel the pain of anyone around her. When her home is destroyed, she leads a group to found a new community, Earthseed.
A graphic novel of Kindred by Damian Duffy and illustrations by John Jennings is also a great way to get started with Butler’s work for those who are not so much into the written.
Here’s an interview with the authors: