Science Fiction writer Octavia Butler died on February 24, 2006, after hitting her head on a walkway near her home near Seattle. She was 58.
She remains the only science fiction writer to receive one of the vaunted “genius grants” from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, a hard-earned $295,000 windfall in 1995 that followed years of poverty and personal struggles with shyness and self-doubt.
“People may call these ‘genius grants,’ ” Butler said in a 2004 interview with the Seattle P-I, “but nobody made me take an IQ test before I got mine. I knew I’m no genius.”
Perhaps best known for the book “Kindred,” in which a black woman from modern Los Angeles is transported back to the pre-Civil War slave era, she wrote about a dozen other books, including the most recent “Fledgling.”
She received a Hugo Award and Nebula Award.