The late Octavia E. Butler was an incredibly talented and groundbreaking African-American science fiction writer, who received multiple Hugo and Nebula awards–the most prestigious awards that can be bestowed upon a sci-fi writer — as well as the MacArthur Genius Grant.
June 22nd, 2018 would have been her 71st birthday, and Google is honoring her with her very own Google Doodle. With the Doodle, Google also released a quote from her family:
Our family is grateful and honored by the opportunity to invoke the memory of Octavia E. Butler. Her uniqueness emerged at an early age when she expressed a strong interest in the written word. It was clear, even then, that Octavia had found her destiny—she decided to pursue a career as a professional writer.
Her spirit of generosity and compassion compelled her to support the disenfranchised. She sought to speak truth to power, challenge prevailing notions and stereotypes, and empower people striving for better lives. Although we miss her, we celebrate the rich life she led and its magnitude in meaning.
Today, on her birthday, it is with immense pride that we give tribute to Octavia for the magnificent gifts she bestowed upon all of us. Her legacy endures. As long as we speak her name, she lives.
In a genre heavily populated by white men, Butler broke down barriers in more ways than one. She opened the world of sci-fi to a more inclusive set of writers and characters. She also did not fear discussing the flaws of humanity or social hierarchies.
She continued to be a trailblazer when she became the first science-fiction author to receive the MacArthur Fellowship. The prestigious fellowship is traditionally awarded to authors who demonstrate extraordinary creativity. There’s no question that Butler had an impressive imagination and the courage and determination to pursue her passion, all while promoting the idea of acceptance.
Google is not the only organization to recognize Butler’s talents and contribution to the literary world. In early 2018, the International Astronomical Union announced that they are naming a mountain on Charon, Pluto's largest moon, Butler Mons in her honor. Last year, it was also announced that Ava DuVernay, the director of A Wrinkle in Time, will spearhead a TV adaptation of Butler’s Dawn.
Octavia Butler is sorely missed, but her legacy certainly lives on.
Celebrate Octavia Butler's birthday with her incredible books!
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Featured image via Google