Octavia Estelle Butler (June 22, 1947 – February 24, 2006) was an American science fiction writer. A multiple recipient of both the Hugo and Nebula awards, Butler was one of the best-known women in the field. In 1995, she became the first science fiction writer to receive the MacArthur Fellowship, nicknamed the “Genius Grant”.
Octavia Butler was the first black sci-fi author I ever read, and it was sort of life changing for me as a young black girl very into speculative fiction of all kinds. It let me know that I wasn’t alone or as weird as I thought, and that it was okay to be black and female and like science fiction. Not only was it okay to like sci-fi, Butler showed me it was possible to be represented in those stories, and even to create those stories myself (which I’ve since done). It sounds almost silly now, but it was a very big deal for thirteen-year-old me.
While gearing up to re-read her Parable of the Sower series (since dystopian reads are all the rage now, thanks to our current political climate), I discovered there were people who haven’t heard of her! So, in honor of new discoveries, I’m reblogging this Octavia Butler starter list in case you’ve not read her before (or if you just need a refresher).