Octavia Butler walked a singular path. A writer from her poverty-stricken childhood to her death in 2006 at the age of 58, she committed her life to turning speculative fiction into a home for Black expression. In her hands, the genre felt capacious and infinite. “I wrote myself in,” she told The New York Times in 2000.
Her ink was permanent. Weathering rejections, dead-end jobs and her own persistent doubts, Butler rose to international prominence. She became the first science fiction author to be granted a MacArthur fellowship, and the first Black woman to win Hugo and Nebula awards. Today her influence spans literature, genres and media.
Click on the above link to read which of Butler's books made the list and why each book is recommended.