Octavia E. Butler Biography, Wiki, Awards, Books, Quotes, Death
Octavia E. Buttler Biography, Wiki, Awards, Books, Quotes, Death. 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, in 1995 she became the first science fiction writer to receive a MacArthur Fellowship. Octavia E. Butler Biography.
Octavia E. Butler Biography
Octavia Estelle Butler Biograph
Born: June 22nd, 194
Birthplace: Pasadena, CA
Died: February 24th, 2006
Location of death: Lake Forest Park, WA
Cause of death: Accident – Fall
Remains: Buried, Mountain View Cemetery, Altadena, CA
Race or Ethnicity: Black
Nationality: United States
Father: Laurice Butler
Mother: Octavia M. “Guy” Butler
Education: AA, Pasadena City College (1968), Cal State Los Angeles, University of California at Los Angeles. Octavia E. Butler Biography.
Octavia Estelle Butler was born on June 22, 1947, in Pasadena, California, the only child of Octavia Margaret Guy, a housemaid, and Laurice James Butler, a shoeshine man. Butler’s father died when she was seven, so Octavia was raised by her mother and maternal grandmother in what she would later recall as a strict Baptist environment.
Growing up in the racially integrated community of Pasadena allowed Butler to experience cultural and ethnic diversity in the midst of racial segregation. She accompanied her mother to her cleaning work, where the two entered white people’s houses through back doors, as workers. Her mother was treated poorly by her employers. “I began writing about power because I had so little.” Octavia E. Butler Biography.
Octavia E. Butler, in Carolyn S. Davidson’s
“The Science Fiction of Octavia Butler.”
From an early age, an almost paralyzing shyness made it difficult for Butler to socialize with other children. Her awkwardness, paired with a slight dyslexia that made schoolwork a torment, led her to believe that she was “ugly and stupid, clumsy, and socially hopeless,” becoming an easy target for bullies. As a result, she frequently passed the time reading at the Pasadena Central Library. She also wrote reams of pages in her “big pink notebook”. Hooked at first on fairy tales and horse stories, she quickly became interested in science fiction magazines, such as Amazing Stories, Galaxy Science Fiction and The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. She began reading stories by John Brunner, Zenna Henderson, and Theodore Sturgeon. Octavia E. Butler Biography.
Octavia E. Butler Rise to success
Although Butler’s mother wanted her to become a secretary in order to have a steady income, Butler continued to work at a series of temporary jobs. She preferred less demanding work that would allow her to get up at two or three in the morning to write. Success continued to elude her. She styled her stories after the white-and-male-dominated science fiction she had grown up reading. She enrolled at California State University, Los Angeles, but switched to taking writing courses through UCLA Extension. Octavia E. Butler Biography.
During the Open Door Workshop of the Screenwriters’ Guild of America, West, a program designed to mentor minority writers, her writing impressed one of the teachers, noted science-fiction writer Harlan Ellison. He encouraged her to attend the six-week Clarion Science Fiction Writers Workshop in Clarion, Pennsylvania. There, Butler met the writer Samuel R. Delany, who developed as a longtime friend. She also sold her first stories: “Child Finder” to Ellison, for his anthology The Last Dangerous Visions (still unpublished), and “Crossover” to Robin Scott Wilson, the director of Clarion, who published it in the 1971 Clarion anthology.
For the next five years, Butler worked on the series of novels that later become known as the Patternist series: Patternmaster (1976), Mind of My Mind (1977), and Survivor (1978). In 1978, she was finally able to stop working at temporary jobs and live on her writing. She took a break from the Patternist series to research and write Kindred (1979), and then finished the series with Wild Seed (1980) and Clay’s Ark (1984).
In the meantime, Butler traveled to the Amazon rainforest and the Andes to do research for what would become the Xenogenesis trilogy: Dawn (1987), Adulthood Rites (1988), and Imago (1989). These stories were republished in 2000 as the collection Lilith’s Brood.
Octavia E. Butler Writing Career
Early stories, Patternist series, and Kindred: 1971–1984
Butler’s first work published was Crossover in the 1971 Clarion Workshop anthology. She also sold the short story Childfinderto Harlan Ellison for the anthology The Last Dangerous Visions. “I thought I was on my way as a writer,” Butler recalled in her short fiction collection Bloodchild and Other Stories. “In fact, I had five more years of rejection slips and horrible little jobs ahead of me before I sold another word.” Octavia E. Butler Biography.
Starting in 1974, Butler worked on a series of novels that would later be collected as the Patternist series, which depicts the transformation of humanity into three genetic groups: the dominant Patternists, humans who have been bred with heightened telepathic powers and are bound to the Patternmaster via a psionic chain; their enemies the Clayarks, disease-mutated animal-like superhumans; and the Mutes, ordinary humans bonded to the Patternists.
The first novel, Patternmaster (1976), eventually became the last installment in the series’ internal chronology. Set in the distant future, it tells of the coming-of-age of Teray, a young Patternist who fights for position within Patternist society and eventually for the role of Patternmaster.
Next came Mind of My Mind (1977), a prequel to Patternmaster set in the twentieth century. The story follows the development of Mary, the creator of the psionic chain and the first Patternmaster to bind all Patternists, and her inevitable struggle for power with her father Doro, a parapsychological vampire who seeks to retain control over the psionic children he has bred over the centuries. Octavia E. Butler Biography.
Late stories and Fledgling: 2003–2005
Butler’s last publication during her lifetime was Fledgling, a novel exploring the culture of a vampire community living in mutualistic symbiosis with humans. Set on the West Coast, it tells of the coming-of-age of a young female hybrid vampire whose species is called Ina. The only survivor of a vicious attack on her families that left her an amnesiac, she must seek justice for her dead, build a new family, and relearn how to be Ina. Octavia E. Butler Biography.
Octavia E. Butler Death
During her last years, Butler struggled with writer’s block and depression, partly caused by the side effects of medication for her high blood pressure. She continued writing and taught at Clarion’s Science Fiction Writers’ Workshop regularly. In 2005, she was inducted into Chicago State University’s International Black Writers Hall of Fame. Octavia E. Butler Biography.
Butler died outside of her home in Lake Forest Park, Washington, on February 24, 2006, aged 58. Contemporary news accounts were inconsistent as to the cause of her death, with some reporting that she suffered a fatal stroke, while others indicated that she died of head injuries after falling and striking her head on her walkway. Another suggestion, backed by Locus magazine, is that a stroke caused the fall and hence the head injuries.
Butler maintained a longstanding relationship with the Huntington Library and bequeathed her papers including manuscripts, correspondence, school papers, notebooks, and photographs to the library in her will. The collection, comprising 39 cartons and eight file-cabinet drawers of material, was made available to scholars and researchers in 2010. Octavia E. Butler Biography.
Octavia E. Butler Awards and Honors
Winner: Octavia E. Butler Biography.
- 2012: Solstice Award.
- 2010: Inducted by the Science Fiction Hall of Fame.
- 2005: Langston Hughes Medal of The City College.
- 2000: Lifetime Achievement Award in Writing from the PEN American Center.
- 1999: James Tiptree Jr Memorial Award Shortlist – Parable of the Talents.
- Arthur C. Clarke Award Shortlist – Parable of the Talents.
- 1999: Nebula Award for Best Novel – Parable of the Talents.
- 1999: Los Angeles Times Bestseller – Parable of the Talents.
- 1998: Publishers Weekly Best ’98 Books – Parable of the Talents.
- 1995: John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Grant.
- 1995: Bloodchild a New York Times Notable Book.
- 1988: Science Fiction Chronicle Award for Best Novelette – “The Evening and the Morning and the Night”.
- 1985: Locus Award for Best Novelette – “Bloodchild”.
- 1985: Science Fiction Chronicle Award for Best Novelette – “Bloodchild”.
- 1984: Nebula Award for Best Novelette – “Bloodchild”.
- 1985: Hugo Award for Best Novelette – “Bloodchild”.
- 1984: Hugo Award for Best Short Story – “Speech Sounds”.
- 1980: Creative Arts Award, L.A. YWCA.
Nominated: Octavia E. Butler Biography.
- 2006: Lambda Award Nominee – Fledgling.
- 2006: Locus Award for Best Novelette Nominee – Fledgling.
- 1999: Locus Award – Parable of the Talents.
- 1995: Locus Award Runner-up – Parable of the Sower.
- 1995: Nebula Award for Best Novel Nominee – Parable of the Sower.
- 1987: Nebula Award for Best Novelette – “The Evening and the Morning and the Night”.
- 1967: Fifth Place, Writer’s Digest Short Story Contest.
Octavia E. Butler Quotes
I just knew there were stories I wanted to tell.
And by the way, I wanted to point out that Kindred is not science fiction. You’ll note there’s no science in it. It’s a kind of grim fantasy.Once you grow past Mommy and Daddy coming running when you’re hurt, you’re really on your own. You’re alone, and there’s no one to help you.I have a huge and savage conscience that won’t let me get away with things.Writing is one of the few professions in which you can psychoanalyse yourself, get rid of hostilities and frustrations in public, and get paid for it.People have the right to call themselves whatever they like. That doesn’t bother me. It’s other people doing the calling that bothers me.No one was going to stop me from writing and no one had to really guide me towards science fiction. It was natural, really, that I would take that interest.Science fiction let me do both. It let me look into science and stick my nose in everywhere.The thing about science fiction is that it’s totally wide open. But it’s wide open in a conditional way.
I recognize we will pay more attention when we have different leadership.