Wednesday, February 24, 2021
Octavia E. Butler Goes Under the Microscope
Tuesday, February 16, 2021


Author Lynell George will discuss her new book, “A Handful of Earth, A Handful of Sky: The World of Octavia E. Butler,” at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 17.

George will converse with Community Library director Jenny Emery Davidson via Livestream. The program is part of the library’s 2021 Winter Read of Octavia E. Butler’s 1979 novel “Kindred.”

The two will talk about Butler’s creative life and private world and why we look to her work to make sense of contemporary chaos.

Octavia Estelle Butler, the daughter of a shoeshine man and a housemaid, was paralyzed by shyness as a youngster. And her slight dyslexia made her an easy target for bullies.

She sought refuge in reading and began writing science fiction as a teenager, pecking away with two fingers on a Remington typewriter she convinced her mother to buy.

She is said to have gotten the idea for her novel “Kindred” from an African-American classmate who was criticizing previous generations of African-Americans for being subservient to whites. “Kindred” follows a young Black woman of the 1970s who is transported back to the antebellum South.

Butler’s other novels include “Patternmaster,” “Mind of My Mind,” “Survivor,” “Wild Seed,” “Clay’s Ark,” “Parable of the Sower” and “Parable of the Talents.”

George has been a staff writer for the Los Angeles Times and L.A. Weekly where she focused on social issues, human behavior, visual arts, music and literature. She has taught journalism at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles and in 2017 received the Huntington Library’s Alan Jutzi Fellowship for her studies of Butler.

Her liner notes for “Otis Redding Live at the Whisky a Go Go” earned a 2017 Grammy Award.

To tune in, go to




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