First Octavia E. Butler Memorial Scholarships Given

First Octavia E. Butler
Memorial Scholarships Given

CONTACT: Nisi Shawl/nisis[at]aol[dot]com/h206-720-1008/c269-599-0611

In moving ceremonies, replicas of a pendant worn by Octavia Butler were given to Christopher Caldwell (Clarion West) and Shweta Narayan (Clarion) to commemorate their receipt of the first two Octavia E. Butler Memorial Scholarships. The ceremonies took place in Seattle on July 27 and San Diego on August 2, at the ends of the two workshops.

In Seattle Nisi Shawl, Treasurer for the Butler Scholarship Fund administrator, the Carl Brandon Society, said, “Octavia touched many people in her life with her presence and her brilliant work. Now her touch goes on beyond her life.”

“Octavia inspired me to write science fiction,” Butler Scholar Chris Caldwell said, “and I applied to Clarion West because she wrote so highly of the experience in her book Bloodchild. I’m thrilled and honored. This means so much to me.”

The two sterling silver pendants, representing an owl in flight, were donated by Laurie Edison. Butler commissioned Edison to create the original pendant, and Edison has pledged to cast replicas to be given to every Butler Scholar.

Caldwell and Narayan were also given one-year Carl Brandon Society memberships.

The Octavia E. Butler Memorial Scholarship enables writers of color to attend one of the Clarion writing workshops, where 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, Butler taught several times for Clarion West in Seattle, Washington, and Clarion in East Lansing, Michigan.

Octavia E. Butler, 1947–2006, was the first black woman to come to international prominence as a science fiction writer. Her work tackled race, gender, religion, poverty, power, politics, and science in a way that reached 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 is administered by the Carl Brandon Society, an organization dedicated to addressing the representation of people of color in the fantastical genres such as science fiction, fantasy and horror. 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 over $6000 a year in tuition and room and board to send one student each to Clarion and Clarion West. The Carl Brandon Society’s goal for a fully endowed scholarship fund is $100,000. Currently the fund contains approximately $14,000.

Donations to the fund by check or money order should be sent to: The Octavia E. Butler Memorial Scholarship Fund, c/o The Carl Brandon Society, P.O. Box 23336, Seattle WA, 98102. Donations may also be made online via PayPal or a major credit card at <>.