Octavia Butler would have turned 75 on the 22nd of June 2022. The legendary sci-fi author passed away in 2006, but her legacy lives on in the 15 novels and short story collections she penned, and the deeply impactful messages within them.
Ground-breaking in many ways, Butler transcended the conventions of sci-fi, exploring issues of empathy, social norms, self-destruction and the environment. She was the first Black woman to win Hugo and Nebula awards, and the first science fiction author to receive a MacArthur Fellowship.
To celebrate her extraordinary life, here are 10 of her most badass quotes:
My books will be read by millions of people!— note to herself before finding fame
I will buy a beautiful home in an excellent neighborhood
I will send poor black youngsters to Clarion or other writer’s workshops
I will help poor black youngsters broaden their horizons
I will help poor black youngsters go to college
I will get the best of health care for my mother and myself
I will hire a car whenever I want or need to.
I will travel whenever and wherever in the world that I choose
My books will be read by millions of people!
So be it! See to it!
All that you touch, You Change. All that you Change, Changes you. The only lasting truth Is Change.— The Parable of the Sower
First forget inspiration. Habit is more dependable. Habit will sustain you whether you’re inspired or not. Habit will help you finish and polish your stories. Inspiration won’t. Habit is persistence in practice.— Bloodchild and Other Stories
I’m trying to speak — to write — the truth. I’m trying to be clear. I’m not interested in being fancy, or even original. Clarity and truth will be plenty, if I can only achieve them.— Parable of the Sower
There is nothing new under the sun, but there are new suns.— Trickster
Sometimes I wrote things because I couldn’t say them, couldn’t sort out my feelings about them, couldn’t keep them bottled inside me.— Kindred
I realize I don’t know very much. None of us knows very much. But we can all learn more. Then we can teach one another. We can stop denying reality or hoping it will go away by magic.— Parable of the Sower
You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it’s good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it.
That’s why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence.
Choose your leaders with wisdom and forethought. To be led by a coward is to be controlled by all that the coward fears. To be led by a fool is to be led by the opportunists who control the fool. To be led by a thief is to offer up your most precious treasures to be stolen. To be led by a liar is to ask to be lied to. To be led by a tyrant is to sell yourself and those you love into slavery.— Parable of the Talents
Read every day and learn from what you read.— Bloodchild and Other Stories
Happy Birthday, wonderful Octavia. And if you’ve never picked up one of her books, take this as a sign from the literary heavens to do so right NOW.
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