Monday, March 1, 2021, 9:12 a.m.Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library - Central LibraryCenter for Accessibility
The Lineage of Science Fiction/Fantasy Writers from the African Diaspora
The historical lack of gender and racial diversity among authors promoted by the Science Fiction/Fantasy book industry has not destroyed the creative imaginations of writers of African descent who embrace the genre.
Black Science Fiction/Fantasy writers do indeed exist and have a kaleidoscope of stories to add to the field.
Here, we specifically honor Octavia Butler as not only one of the few African-American women in the industry but also one of the best.
Butler was the first Science Fiction/Fantasy writer to ever receive the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship Grant in 1995 (popularly called the “Genius Grant”). As a girl, Butler dealt with deep shyness and dyslexia and also loved to lose herself in books. By age 10, she started writing and by 12, she committed to science fiction. Butler’s writing endures as a genre game-changer with her unique explorations of power, race, sex and the complexities of humanity.
The following list includes more writers from the African Diaspora who have electrified the world of Science Fiction/Fantasy. Some are well-known, such as legacy builders Samuel Delany and Nalo Hopkinson. Others are the children and cousins Octavia Butler never knew she had. There are a few on the list that may surprise you.
The presence of Black Science Fiction/Fantasy writers ensures that Black people will be in the future. Their collective imagination claims it as Octavia Butler would say: “So be it. See to it!”
- Octavia Butler
- Samuel Delany
- Tananarive Due
- Nalo Hopkinson
- N. K. Jemisin
- Nnedi Okorafor
- Andrea Hairston
- Nisi Shawl
- Daniel José Older
- Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa
- Rivers Solomon
- Marlon James
- Tochi Onyebuchi
- Victor LaValle
- Temi Oh
- Namwali Serpell
- Akwaeke Emezi
- Justina Ireland
- Tade Thompson
- Walter Mosely (Futureland and Blue Light)
- Colson Whitehead (Zone One)
- Roxane Gay (The Sacrifice of Darkness)
- Ta-Nehisi Coates (The Water Dancer)