All posts by Ayana

RADIO IMAGINATION: Artists and Writers in the Archive of Octavia E. Butler

clockshop image

We’re pleased to announce our partnership with the Los Angeles-based arts nonprofit Clockshop. Clockshop has just announced the launch of Radio Imagination, a citywide collaboration of artistic and public programs that celebrate the life and work of Pasadena science fiction writer Octavia E. Butler (1947–2006). Organized by Clockshop, Radio Imagination is a yearlong series of performances, film screenings, and literary events. At the center of the program are 10 commissions by 12 contemporary artists and writers that explore the Octavia E. Butler Papers at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

Cultural institutions citywide join Clockshop in a yearlong celebration of the life and work of science fiction writer Octavia E. Butler

February 2016–January 2017.

Download the press release

For schedule of events and updates, visit


A Mini/Archival Review of “A Necessary Being” from Unexpected Stories

Octavia Butler’s Unexpected Stories comes is out todayunexpected cover, 6/24/14! The collection consists of two short stories, a forward by Walter Mosley and afterword by Butler’s literary agent Merilee Heifetz. Here is a spoiler-free mini review of “A Necessary Being.”

There are many things to love about “A necessary Being.” In the archive, there is a list of fight moves that Butler wrote down to keep herself on track while she was writing the fight scenes. The culture and world building are also tantalizing. For example, what is a bite on the neck? What does it signify? I will just say that the close relationships between intimacy, vulnerability, life, and death are all intertwined here.

I also enjoyed the lack of actual human beings in the story and the world that seems all too real! This doesn’t look like any kind of Star Trek novel prequel to me. The aliens in this story are not under the western/human gaze. She filtered out the colonial, paternalistic attitudes that are prominent in many other kinds of stories. She asked questions with her writing about leadership, service, community, and death that I will spend a lot of time unpacking. This story is no different.

The title is from the following quote:

If God were not a necessary Being of Himself, He might almost seem to be made for the use and benefit of men. (John Tillotson)

The handwritten quote is along  with the citation of where she found it is at the bottom of the cover page. I was wondering if they would include the quote at the beginning of the short story. The final draft is dated December 2, 1973 when Octavia was about 26 years old.

quote-if-god-were-not-a-necessary-being-of-himself-he-might-almost-seem-to-be-made-for-the-use-and-john-tillotson-334365You can get a copy here or wherever ebooks are sold.

There are an lots of little juicy tidbits and goodies from the archives that we hope to share with you as time allows. Until then, you can check out for cute snips and videos of archival materials compiled by Marisa Parham.

I am really excited about hearing what other folks in the @oeblegacy community are saying and feeling about this new offering? What are your favorite things about the Unexpected Stories?

~Ayana A. H. Jamieson

Founder of OEBLegacy

Octavia E. Butler’s Transition Anniversary ~ OEBLegacy is a Year Old!

It’s been a year since we launched the Octavia E. Butler Legacy Network (OEBLegacy) on Facebook to raise awareness about the state of Butler’s gravesite in Altadena, California. Eight years ago today, Octavia made the transition to the realm of the ancestors. We commemorate her life today and throughout the year and February 24th always marks a special day for OEBLegacy Network.

When I first visited her final resting place in August 2011, her headstone was so overgrown that I couldn’t find it. I quickly realized that her physical memorial is just one part of her legacy. Since 2011 through OEBLEgacy, we all realize that her legacy is so much more. It has been a year since the Facebook launch. I am grateful for a year of reading her work intentionally in community, building relationships, and looking back at her life’s work while also looking toward the future. We have some exciting announcements to make when more details become available. In the meantime, there are some ways you can celebrate and commemorate with us today and throughout the year.

Go through the OEBLegacy Tumblr archive and look at some of the images, quotes, videos, and links we’ve shared. We are most proud of being able to hold a virtual community memorial gathering for #visitoctaviabutler2013 in honor of her birthday. Folks were able to submit love notes to Octavia for her birthday in 2013 and we’ll be doing it again this year. We’ll let you know how to submit your 2014 love note birthday wishes soon!

If you want to check out some of what you’ve missed over the last year, you can like our Facebook page and follow us on Tumblr and Twitter. This year we will deepen and broaden our commitment to sharing and supporting her legacy. To accomplish this, the OebLegacy blog will be updated more frequently and we’ll continue to share events we are looking forward to that are planned by others and the ones we have in the works.

In her memory,

Ayana A. H. Jamieson

Founder of OebLegacy