Butler was born June 22, 1947 in Pasadena, California. She began writing at the age of 10 and at 12 began a lifelong interest in science fiction. In 1968, she earned an associate’s degree from Pasadena City College and then participated in a number of writing workshops. Her first published short story, “Crossover,” appeared in 1971.
Butler’s works have won a number of awards, including the 1984 Hugo Award for Best Short Story for “Speech Sounds” and the 1999 Nebula Award for Best Novel for “Parable of the Talents.” Her novelette, “Bloodchild,” won the 1984 Nebula Award for Best Novelette, the 1985 Science Fiction Chronicle Award for Best Novelette, the 1985 Locus Award for Best Novelette and the 1985 Hugo Award for Best Novelette.
In 1995, she became the first science fiction writer to receive the MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Grant. The Octavia E. Butler Memorial Scholarship was established in 2006 to provide an annual scholarship for writers of color to attend one of the writing workshops where Butler got her start. In 2010, Butler was posthumously inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame.