Octavia Estelle Butler, often referred to as the “grand dame of science fiction,” was born in Pasadena, California on June 22, 1947. She attended Pasadena Community College, CSULA, and UCLA. During 1969 and 1970, she studied at the Screenwriter’s Guild Open Door Program and the Clarion Science Fiction Writers’ Workshop, where she took a class with science fiction master Harlan Ellison (who later became her mentor), and which led to Butler selling her first science fiction stories.
Patternmaster, her first novel and the first title of her five-volume Patternistseries, was published in 1976, followed by Mind of My Mindin 1977. Others in the series include Survivor(1978), Wild Seed (1980), which won the James Tiptree Award, and Clay’s Ark (1984).
With the publication of Kindredin 1979, Butler was able to support herself writing full time. She won the Hugo Award in 1984 for her short story, “Speech Sounds,” and in 1985, Butler’s novelette “Bloodchild” won a Hugo Award, a Nebula Award, the Locus Award, and an award for best novelette from Science Fiction Chronicle.
Other books by Octavia E. Butler include the Xenogenesistrilogy: Dawn(1987), Adulthood Rites(1988) andImago(1989), and a short story collection, Bloodchild and Other Stories(1995). Parable of the Sower(1993), the first of her Earthseedseries, was a finalist for the Nebula Award as well as a New York TimesNotable Book of the Year. The book’s sequel, Parable of the Talents (1998), won a Nebula Award.
In 1995 Butler was awarded a prestigious MacArthur Foundation fellowship.