Octavia E. Butler

Challenge Grant Spurs Donations to the
Octavia E. Butler Memorial Scholarship Fund

The Octavia E. Butler Memorial Scholarship Fund has been offered a $1500 challenge grant by SciFi, Inc., to be paid after the scholarship has raised matching funds. June 22, Octavia Butler's birthday, is the deadline. The Carl Brandon Society, which administers the scholarship, is confident that the community will meet this challenge given the deep respect we all hold for Ms. Butler's life and work.

Octavia E. Butler, 1947-2006, was the first black woman to come to international prominence as a science fiction writer. Her work dealt with race, gender, religion, poverty, power, politics, and science in a way that touched readers of all backgrounds. A critical force, she received numerous awards, including a MacArthur "genius" grant, both the Hugo and Nebula awards, the Langston Hughes Medal, and a PEN Lifetime Achievement award.

The Octavia E. Butler Memorial Scholarship will enable writers of color to attend one of the Clarion writing workshops, where Ms. Butler got her start. It is meant to cement her legacy by providing the same opportunity that she had to future generations of new writers of color. In addition to her stint as a student at the original Clarion Writers Workshop in Pennsylvania in 1970, Ms. Butler taught several times for Clarion West in Seattle, Washington, and Clarion in East Lansing, Michigan, giving generously of her time to a cause she believed in.

The first Octavia E. Butler Memorial Scholarships covering tuition, room, and board have just been awarded to two students of color, who will attend Clarion West in Seattle and Clarion in San Diego this summer.

SciFi, Inc. is a California-based non-profit organization that has sponsored several Worldcon Science Fiction Conventions. It is closely associated with the Los Angeles Science Fiction Society, of which Ms. Butler was a member.

The Carl Brandon Society is dedicated to addressing the representation of people of color in the fantastical genres such as science fiction, fantasy and horror, for administration. Ms. Butler was an enthusiastic early member of the Carl Brandon Society, seeing it as another avenue to help people who looked like her have a voice in the world. To learn more about the Carl Brandon Society, visit their website at .

It costs about $3000 in tuition and room and board to send one student to Clarion or Clarion West each year. The Carl Brandon Society's goal for a fully endowed scholarship fund is $100,000. Currently the fund contains approximately $16,000.

Donations to the fund by check or money order can be sent to: The Octavia E. Butler Memorial Scholarship Fund, c/o The Carl Brandon Society, P.O. Box 23336, Seattle WA, 98102.