Acclaimed Sci-fi Author Octavia Butler Receives CCNY Langston Hughes Medal

NEW YORK, November 3, 2005 – Octavia E. Butler, the highly acclaimed author of science fiction and fantasy, will receive the 2005 Langston Hughes Medal at The City College of New York’s 32nd annual Langston Hughes Festival, Friday, November 11.

Dr. Gregory H. Williams, President of The City College, will present the Hughes Medal to Ms. Butler in the Marian Anderson Theatre, located in Aaron Davis Hall on the CCNY campus. The event, which begins at 7 p.m., will also feature a performance by the Chamber Ensemble of the Harlem Symphony Orchestra.

The Langston Hughes Medal was established by the late Raymond Patterson, Professor Emeritus of English at CCNY, to honor Langston Hughes’s life-long commitment to social change through works that reflect various cultures with roots in an African heritage. Previous recipients include James Baldwin, Alice Walker, Ralph Ellison, Chinua Achebe, George Lamming, Toni Morrison and Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka.

Ms. Butler is the award-winning author of 12 novels and a collection of short fiction and nonfiction. Her novels include Patternmaster, Mind of My Mind, Survivor, Kindred, Wild Seed, Clay’s Ark, Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents. Her latest book, Fledgling, was just published by Seven Stories Press.

She has received the 1984 Hugo Award for best short story (Speech Sounds) and the 1999 Nebula Award for best novel (Parable of the Talents) and a MacArthur Fellowship in 1995. In addition, PEN Center (Poets, Essayists and Novelists) presented her with a lifetime achievement award for writing in 2000.

Ms. Butler was born in Pasadena, Calif., and graduated from Pasadena City College. She later attended California State University, Los Angeles.

As part of the Langston Hughes Festival, the CUNY Institute for Research on the African Diaspora in the Americas and the Caribbean (IRADAC) at CCNY will host an art exhibition featuring the work of Gilbert Fletcher. It runs from November 1 – 18 in the College’s North Academic Center (NAC), room 5/220. An opening reception and gallery talk will be held in the same venue, 5 p.m. Thursday, November 10.

Contact: Jay Mwamba, 212/650-7580,