Next week, an outstanding panel of authors and actors will come together (virtually) to celebrate the work of Octavia Butler. Hosted by New York’s Symphony Space, the event features playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins (An Octoroon) hosting a discussion with writers N. K. Jemisin (How Long ’til Black Future Month?), Walter Mosley (The Awkward Black Man), and Imani Perry (Breathe: A Letter to My Sons). Actors Yetide Badaki (American Gods) and Adepero Oduye (When They See Us) will read selections from Butler’s work.
The event is presented in conjunction with Grand Central, the publisher of many of Butler’s works, and Library of America, which just published a volume containing Kindred, Fledgling, and Butler’s collected short stories. The LOA edition is co-edited by author Nisi Shawl (Everfair) and Gerry Canavan. (“Positive Obsession,” a story included in the collection, is available to read at the LOA website.) This is only the first of the Butler editions the LOA plans to publish; there will be several more over the next few years.
This panel lineup is excellent, and Symphony Space has a long tradition of inviting actors to read literary works in their “Selected Shorts” programs; it’s always a treat to see how well they match performers and texts. A Celebration of Octavia Butler begins at 7 pm (EST) on Wednesday, February 24th; tickets ($12 members/$15 nonmembers) are available from Symphony Space.