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Widely regarded as the foremost Black woman in sci-fi literature, Butler is also the first science fiction writer to win a prestigious MacArthur Foundation fellowship.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of her sudden death at age 58. The latest celebration of her life comes on April 22 with "Shaping the Universe: Octavia E. Butler and Activism." Led by award-winning writers Steven Barnes, Lisa Bolekaja, and Tananarive Due, the discussion focuses on the intersection of activism, science fiction and Butler's work.
Undoubtedly, the writer's name will always be inextricably tied to science fiction but it is now finding new life in Afrofuturism. The newish term and movement refer to a longstanding subgenre that imagines a future where Black and brown people and cultures are centered. Sometimes, Afrofuturist work features a resurgence of ancestral knowledge. Other times it's woven with the high-tech trappings of mainstream sci-fi. Often, Afrofuturists blend the two.
"Afrofuturism, or what some call the Black Futurist Movement ... those things are needed in order to move us from the things that persist from the past that we are still engaged in overcoming," says Ayana Jamieson, author, educator and founder of the Octavia E. Butler Legacy Network, a "Radio Imagination" partner. The Network aims to support and build connections between people and projects that draw from Butler's life and work.
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