Friday’s (June 22) Google Doodle celebrates Octavia E. Butler, African-American science fiction writer and female pioneer of the genre. Today would’ve been Butler’s 71 birthday; she died in 2006 at age 58.
As a black female writer, Butler made waves in science fiction by bringing a diverse cast of characters to her stories, while tackling complicated issues facing humanity. In 1984 she received notoriety by winning a Hugo Award for her post-apocalyptic short story “Speech Sounds,” and again for the novel Bloodchild in 1985. In the ’90s, Butler was presented with the prestigious MacArthur Foundation “Genius Grant,” which made her a fellow.
“Her spirit of generosity and compassion compelled her to support the disenfranchised,” Butler’s family said in a statement to coincide with the Google Doodle. “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.”
Filmmaker Ava DuVernay, director of A Wrinkle In Time, has been working on a TV adaptation of Butler’s 1987 novel Dawn, which does not yet have a set release date.