On the anniversary of her death, we look back on the extraordinary life of a remarkable writer.
She was raised by women
Detail of photograph of Butler (center) with her aunts Irma (Guy) Harris (left) and Hazel Ruth (Guy) Walker (right), photographer unknown, undated.
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Kindred was inspired by the time a very young Butler spent with her mother at work
A terrible sci-fi movie helped launch her career
She was bullied
Detail of picture of Octavia Butler taken when she was 15 or 16, circa 1962.
A classmate's comment motivated her to write Kindred
She was friends with author Samuel R. Delany
Actor Avery Brooks (L.) and Samuel R. Delany (R.) at a tribute to Octavia Butler.
She supported herself by working as a potato chip inspector
She was given a $5,000 advance for Kindred
She was a world traveler
Butler in Machu Picchu in 1985, photographer unknown.
She was the first science fiction author to win a MacArthur Genius Grant
She avoided reading critical theory about her work
Notes written by Octavia E. Butler for her novel Parable of the Talents, ca. 1996.
When she moved to Seattle, she brought 300 boxes of books with her
Photograph of Octavia E. Butler seated by her bookcase, 1986.
Butler never drove
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She was a fan of Fantastic Four comics and the Sookie Stackhouse novels
She was incredibly determined
Detail of a page from Octavia Butler's notebook.