Octavia E. Butler: Biography

Octavia E. Butler

22 jun 1947

Octavia Estelle Butler has received numerous awards for almost all her works. She grew up to be one of country’s leading female science fiction writers especially in the male dominated genre. Octavia rose to this position through sheer hard work and determination.

Octavia faced lot of difficulties growing up. Born in Pasadena, California on Jun 22, 1947, Octavia lost her father at a young age. Her mother worked as a maid and also did various jobs to support the family. Amidst all struggle, Octavia managed to receive an Associate of Arts Degree from Pasadena Community college and attended California State University.

The Clarion Science Fiction Writer’s Workshop that she attended was a life changer as she got acquainted with the Science Fiction master Harlan Ellison who later became her mentor. In 1971, Octavia published her first story, ‘Crossover’. She then published her first novel, ‘Patternmaster’ and the first title of her five volume Patternist series in 1976.

As many of Octavia’s books got published, she could support her living and started writing full time. Her works were greatly appreciated by almost everyone. Octavia won the Hugo award for her short story, ‘Speech Sounds’. Her novel, ’Blood child’ won her a Hugo Award, a Nebula Award, The Locus Award and an award for best novelette from science fiction chronicle.

In 1995, Octavia was honoured with a prestigious Mac Arthur Foundation Fellowship. In fact, Octavia is the only science fiction writer to receive ‘Genius Grants’ from John. D. and Catherine T. Mac Arthur Foundation and received $ 295,000 which swiped away all her years of poverty and struggle. Octavia E. Butler, who was often referred as the ‘Grand dame of science fiction’ passed away at the age of 58, outside her home in Lake Forest Park.