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The Huntington creates fellowship to study science-fiction pioneer Octavia E. Butler

Octavia Butler poses with some of her books.
A new one-year fellowship to study author Octavia E. Butler has been seeded by the Huntington.
(Joshua Trujillo / Associated Press)

A new fellowship in honor of author Octavia E. Butler has been created by the Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens.

Announced Wednesday, the one-year research fellowship is open to applicants “working from a variety of disciplinary perspectives on the ideas and issues explored by Butler in her published works,” according to the Huntington website.

“The Huntington is delighted to offer a research grant that will provide support for a scholar who wishes to spend a full academic year working with Butler’s literary archive and reflecting on and writing about its profound implications,” said Steve Hindle, the Huntington’s W.M. Keck Foundation director of research, in a statement.

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Butler, who died in 2006 at 58, is remembered as the first science fiction author to be awarded a MacArthur “genius” grant as well as the first Black woman to gain acclaim within the genre, winning multiple Nebula and Hugo awards over the course of her career. She published 12 novels and a collection of short stories before her death.

TV adaptations of her novels “Wild Seed,” from her “Patternist” series, and “Dawn,” the first in her “Xenogenesis” series, have recently been announced.

Based in San Marino, the Huntington is the home to Butler’s archives, including 386 boxes of drafts, notes, essays, letters and more. In its announcement, the Huntington said the seed funding for this year could lead to an endowment to support the Octavia E. Butler fellowship in perpetuity.

The Huntington also announced it is hosting a virtual “Inspired by Octavia E. Butler” centennial event — part of its President’s Series — with L.A. author Lynell George, USC history professor William Deverell and Karla Nielsen, the Huntington’s curator of literary collections, on Aug. 26. George’s book “A Handful of Earth, A Handful of Sky: The World of Octavia E. Butler” will be released later this year.


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