Saturday, April 15, 2017

John Malveaux: The Huntington presents the first major exhibition on the life of award-winning author Octavia E. Butler

The Huntington,, located in San Marino, California, is "A private, nonprofit institution.  The Huntington was founded in 1919 by Henry E. Huntington..."

 Octavia E. Butler (1947-2006)

John Malveaux of 

The Huntington presents the first major exhibition on the life of award-winning author Octavia E. Butler.  Se

Octavia E. Butler: Telling My Stories

A new exhibition opening this spring examines the life and work of celebrated author Octavia E. Butler (1947-2006), the first science fiction writer to receive a prestigious MacArthur “genius” award and the first African American woman to win widespread recognition writing in that genre. Butler’s literary archive resides at The Huntington.

“She was a pioneer, a master storyteller who brought her voice—the voice of a woman of color—to science fiction,” said Natalie Russell, assistant curator of literary manuscripts at The Huntington and curator of the exhibition. “Tired of stories featuring white, male heroes, she developed an alternative narrative from a very personal point of view.”

Butler, a Pasadena, Calif., native, told the New York Times in a 2000 interview: “When I began writing science fiction, when I began reading, heck, I wasn’t in any of this stuff I read. The only black people you found were occasional characters or characters who were so feeble-witted that they couldn’t manage anything, anyway. I wrote myself in, since I’m me and I’m here and I’m writing.”

The exhibition follows a roughly chronological thread and includes approximately 100 items that reveal the writer’s early years and influences. It also highlights specific themes that repeatedly commanded her attention. Butler was born June 22, 1947, to a maid and a shoeshine man. Her father died when she was quite young. An only child, she discovered writing very early because it suited her shy nature. The exhibition will feature samples of her earliest stories.

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