Octavia Estelle Butler was born in Pasadena, CA and was educated at Pasadena City College (A.A., 1968), California State University, Los Angeles, 1969.
She began writing SF when she was 12 years old, and became a fulltime free-lance writer in 1970. First SF publication: “Crossover” in Clarion (1971) ; First novel: Pattern-Master (Doubleday, 1976); First collection: Bloodchild: And Other Stories (Four Walls Eight Windows, 1995/revised with 2 additional stories in 2005).
She is known in the field today primarily for her three series of novels. The first, the “Patternist” series, consists of Pattern-Master, Mind of My Mind (1977), and Wild Seed (1980). Her second series, “The Xenogenesis Trilogy” is comprised of the novels Dawn (1987), Adulthood Rites (1988) [cover by Wayne Barlowe], and Imago (1989) [the three novels were published as an omnibus volume, Lilith’s Brood, in 2000]. Butler’s most recent series, the “Parable” books, consists of the award-winning Parable of the Talents (1998) and its prequel, Parable of the Sower (1993), with others planned (Parable of the Trickster?). Standalone novels include Patternmaster (1976), Survivor (1978), Kindred (1979), and Clay’s Ark (1984).
Butler wrote from the perspective of the African-American experience in the United States, often with Black women as her protagonists. A critically praised, non-series book was her novel Kindred (1979), a tale of time travel to slave-owning days in the antebellum South of the 19th Century. "The Evening and the Morning and the Night", a short story, was published separately in a limited edition by Pulphouse in 1991. A fantasy novel, Fledgling, appeared in 2005, as did a reprint of Wild Seed. The Spring 1982 issue of issue of Extrapolation (Volume 23, Number 1), devoted to female SF writers, included a discussion of Butler and her work. She received a Special Achievement Award from the U. S. Air Force Academy in 1989, a MacArthur Fellows Program Grant in 1995 (first SF writer to receive this award), and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the PEN Center, U.S.A. West, in 2000.
An interview with Butler, “Persistence,” appeared in the June 2000 issue of Locus. Butler on writing: “My love of writing is an outgrowth of my love of reading.”
Awards, Honors and GoHships:
- 1983 — Orycon V
- 1987 — InConJunction VIII
- 1989 — AggieCon XX
- 1993 — Demicon 14, Concat 5
- 1995 — ConQuesT 26
- 1997 — Intervention
- 1998 — Lunacon 41
- 1999 — Foolscap I, Minicon 34
- 2000 — Balticon 34
- 2002 — Readercon 14, EerieCon 4
- 2004 — Rustycon 21
- 2008 — Parable of the Sower was Book of Honor at Potlatch 17
- 2012 — Solstice Award
- 2016 — Posthumous GoH at FOGcon 6
- Two Nebula nominations
For more on her career, see http://www.sf-encyclopedia.com/entry/butler_octavia