Image: John Jude Palencar
[Katie Noble | Entertainment Editor]
How many black authors have you read? Or more specifically, how many black authors do you actually know? It’s safe to say that the publishing industry is still affected by institutional racism, making it extremely hard for black authors – and more so, black women authors – to gain the same recognition and literary fame as their white counterparts.
In light of this, I would like to introduce you to one of my favourite black female authors, Octavia E. Butler. Now Butler isn’t particularly under the radar. She has won Hugo awards and within the realm of science fiction/fantasy literature she could even be considered well-known. However her wonderful work is still greatly under appreciated. Butler’s writing is closely linked to Afrofuturism, a literary and artistic movement that explores the speculative using African-American themes and concerns. Her writing sometimes reminds me of Margaret Atwood, and although her language is not as ‘flowery’, Butler’s storytelling is on-par, if not miles (or light-years) ahead of Atwood’s. Her novels manage to evoke an intense emotional response, despite their use of unreal elements and worlds.
Image – Doubleday
I would highly suggest starting your Octavia E. Butler journey with Kindred, a novel following a young black woman who is continually forced back in time to the Antebellum South. It’s just as devastating as it sounds. Her short story ‘Bloodchild’ – following humans reacting with an alien species – is also available for free on Kindle if that sounds more up your alley.