In 1995, renowned author Octavia E. Butler became the first science-fiction writer, and one of the first Black women, to receive a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship grant. The author of several award-winning novels including Parable of the Sower, a New York Times 1993 Notable Book of the Year, and recently a New York Times Bestseller, Butler was acclaimed for her lean prose, strong protagonists, and acute social observations in stories that range from the distant past to the near future. Sales of her books have increased enormously since her death in 2006, as the issues she addresses in her Afrofuturistic, feminist novels have become more obviously relevant.
Her life and works have been highly influential in science fiction, the literary world and popular culture, especially for people of color and marginalized communities. Scholars note that Butler’s choice to write from the point of view of characters in these communities expanded the science fiction genre to reflect the experiences of disenfranchised people.