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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Octavia Butler

A century from now when scholars look back at today's literary scene and identify who the "giants" are, Octavia Butler (1947-2006) will be one of the names that are elevated.

She is one of those writers who helped to prove that science fiction can be serious literature. She used the genre to explore such things as race, gender, politics, science, and poverty. Her work was recognized by such awards as a MacArthur genius grant, Hugo Awards, Nebula Awards, the Langston Hughes Medal, and a PEN Lifetime Achievement Award.

She died in February of this year. Within a month, several publishers and organizations banded together to create the Octavia E. Butler Memorial Scholarship Fund. This scholarship will pay the way for writers of color to attend either Clarion Writers Workshop or Clarion West. These are workshops in which Butler herself got her start in 1970. She also taught Clarion workshops in both Seattle and East Lansing, Michigan.

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