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Octavia Butler

Born on June 22, 1947 in Pasadena CA, Octavia Estelle Butler is the only black woman writing science fiction today. Daughter of Laurice and Octavia M. Butler, she is an only child raised mainly by her mother, grandmother and other relatives after her father's death early in her life. Growing up she classifies herself as an "out kid", like many other science fiction writers do. Butler is, therefore, familiar with the role of outsider and sympathizes with such outsiders.

Raised in a strict but loving Baptist setting, Butler was further alienated from the in-crowd as she was not allowed to dance or wear make-up, and therefore felt more comfortable around adults. Her unusual tallness helped her find a place in this mature community.

By the age of twelve, she knew she wanted to write science fiction. Success did not always come easily as she encountered a lot of disinterest and criticism of her unusual writing style in high school and college at Pasadena City College, California State University at Los Angeles and UCLA. She quit college before graduation and worked various odd jobs to pay for night classes and her work with the Writers Guild of America, West, Inc. It was through her work with this organization that Butler gained experience and wisdom from esteemed science fiction writers.

At 23, in the summer of 1970, Butler attended the Clarion Science Fiction writer's workshop, which claimed to provide the basics for writing and publishing science fiction, all in six weeks. It was at this session that Butler sold her first two stories, and embarked on her great literary journey.

After selling her first stories, she continued training through classes at UCLA. Her first novel "Pattermaster" was published in 1976. Since then she has published nine other novels and several short stories.

Butler lives in Los Angeles and is not married, which is perhaps reflected by her strong and independent female characters.

Novels________________________________________Short Stories
Patternmaster (1976)_____________________________"Near of Kin" (1971)
Mind of My Mind (1977)__________________________"Crossover" (1971)
Survivor (1978)_________________________________"Speech Sounds" (1983)
Kindred (1979)_________________________________"Bloodchild" (1984)
Wild Seed (1980)_______________________________"Evening...Night" (1987)
Clay's Ark (1984)_______________________________"Positive Obsession" (1989)
Dawn:Xenogenesis (1987)_________________________"Furor Scribendi" (1993)
Adulthood Rites (1988)
Imago (1989)
Parable of the Sower (1993)
Parable of the Talents (1998)