HSU Book of the Year

Parable of the Sower

Campus Dialogue on Race Oct. 31-Nov. 9

November 03, 2008 By: admin Category: Events

This ten day series of events is held annually on the HSU Campus in early November.  The Campus Dialogue on Race is an annual event at Humboldt State University that invites students, staff, faculty, administrators and community members to present and attend programs that relate to racial justice and its intersections with other forms of oppression. Our objective is to create spaces and structures for reflection, analysis and dialogue. This year’s Dialogue will run from October 31 to November 7, 2008.  Nalo Hopkinson’s presentation is a part of this extensive effort. Please consult the Dialogue schedule of events for more information on the many interesting presentations and activities.

Book of the Year Celebration with Nalo Hopkinson

November 03, 2008 By: admin Category: Events

A Celebration of the 2008-09 CR/HSU Book of the Year will be held in the HSU Library Lobby on November 6, 2008 at 7-9 PM.  Award-winning author Nalo Hopkinson will discuss Octavia Butler’s work, why it is important, and Black and other non-traditional voices in the literatures of science fiction and fantasy.  She will also read from and comment on her own work, and participate in a Question and Answer session.  A book-signing will be managed by the HSU Bookstore, and the Library will serve refreshments.  All are welcome!

Ms. Hopkinson’s appearance is being sponsored by Campus Dialogue on Race, the Office of Academic Affairs, the Office of Student Affairs, the HSU Library and the HSU Bookstore.  for more information, see the event flyer.



Book Club Class – ENGL 480

May 22, 2008 By: admin Category: Events

Need 1 more unit?  Love to read and talk about books?  Register for CRN #43725  and join campus book lovers to read the HSU/CR choice for Book of the Year in a Book Club format.  You will participate in small discussion groups, presentations, special events, FESCUE 2008, and the Fall, 2008 Dialogue on Race.  Attend mandatory initial class meeting on either Wed., Aug 27 or Thurs., Aug 28 from 6-8 PM in FH 235.  Additional meetings to be arranged.  If you have questions, email Erin Sullivan at ems6@humboldt.edu.

Octavia Butler – Essays, Interviews, Tributes

May 22, 2008 By: admin Category: Listening, Reading, Teaching, Viewing

From Professor Janet Winston (English)
Here are titles and links to some useful essays, interviews, and tributes and obituaries.
Several of the interviews are audio- and/or visually-archived, so instructors can play these in class:
Octavia Butler’s website:
http://www.sfwa.org/members/Butler/ This contains numerous links to interviews, photographs, tributes to her and
obituaries after her passing. Teachers might find the links to audiotaped
interviews with Butler especially useful for the classroom.
Here are two interviews on NPR:
“Devil Girl From Mars: Why I Write Science Fiction” (transcript of speech
Butler gave at MIT in 1998)

**Videotaped interview of Butler on Democracy Now (2005)
She talks about global warming and reads from Parable of the Talents (the sequel to Parable of the Sower)

Scholarly essays and interviews:
“The Relationship Between Community and Subjectivity in Octavia Butler’s
Parable of the Sower” by Clara Escoda Agusti
Extrapolation 46.3 (2005): 351-59

“‘The More Things Change, The More They Remain the Same’: Gender and
Sexuality in Octavia Butler’s Oeuvre” by Sharon DeGraw in Femspec 4.2, 219-

“An Interview With Octavia Butler” by Randall Kenan
in Callaloo 14.2 (Spring, 1991): 495-504

“‘Radio Imagination’: Octavia Butler on the Poetics of Narrative Embodiment”
by Marilyn Mehaffy and AnaLouise Keating
in MELUS 26.1 (Spring 2001):45-76

“‘All that you touch you change’: Utopian Desire and the Concept of Change
in Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents
By Patricia Melzer in Femspec 3.2 (Jun 2002): 31-

CHANGING TIMES by Sandra Govan
In Femspec 4.2 (Jun 2003): 239-

Ideas for Teaching Parable: Sojourner Truth

April 15, 2008 By: admin Category: Uncategorized

From Barbara Curiel, HSU English and Ethnic Studies:
Lauren, the protagonist, is strongly patterned on Sojourner Truth. They both travel and rescue people who are enslaved, literally and in other ways. The parallels between Lauren and Truth can be studied by introducing historical materials about Truth, including their mutual interest in utopian societies, cross-dressing, and carrying weapons.
June Jordan has a poem “The Song of Sojourner Truth,” that can be studied with the novel.

From Christine Accomando, Professor of English and Ethnic Studies at HSU, more resources on Sojourner Truth:

I think the best work on Truth is Stetson and David’s GLORYING IN TRIBULATION: THE LIFEWORK OF SOJOURNER TRUTH. HSU Library Info

Her oratory is really interesting but always transcribed by others (since
unlike Lauren, she is an activist/orator but not a writer), so it’s
important to be conscious about what versions of speeches you use.

Sweet Honey in the Rock recorded a version of Truth’s Battle Hymn, a song
she composed for the African American soldiers in the Civil War.

About the Author

April 15, 2008 By: admin Category: Reading

Obituaries are one good source of information for authors once they are deceased. Parable author Octavia Butler died February 24, 2006 in Seattle, from injuries sustained in a fall. Here are some examples from among the many tributes published at the time of her death:

New York Times Obituary published on March 1, 2006:

Octavia Butler, Science Fiction Writer, Dies at 58

From a hometown paper, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, on February 27, 2006:

Octavia Butler, 1947-2006: Sci-fi writer a gifted pioneer in white, male domain

She was recognized in the Washington Post:

Octavia Butler, Lonely Bright Star of the Sci-Fi Universe

HSU and CR Choose 2008-09 “Book of the Year”

April 14, 2008 By: admin Category: Events

Humboldt State University and the College of the Redwoods have chosen Octavia Butler’s futuristic Parable of the Sower for common reading and discussion. Themes of dystopia/utopia, social and economic problems, climate change, and heroic journey combine in this rich novel. From Barnes & Noble:

“The time is 2025. The place is California, where small walled communities must protect themselves from hordes of desperate scavengers and roaming bands of ‘Paints,’ people addicted to a drug that activates an orgasmic desire to burn, rape and murder. When one small community is overrun, Lauren Olamina, an 18 year old black woman, sets off on foot, moving north along the dangerous coastal highways. She is a ‘sharer,’ one who suffers from a hereditary trait called ‘hyperempathy,’ which causes her to feel others’ pain as well as her own. Parable of the Sower is both a coming of age novel and a road novel, set in the near future, when the dying embers of our old civilization can either cool or be the catalyst for something new.”

From the Times-Standard, March 28, 2008 -

HSU and CR Pick “Book of the Year”

  • Events

    August 27 - ENGL 480 Book Club Class Begins.
    Join campus book lovers to read the HSU/CR choice for Book of the Year in a Book Club format.
  • CR/HSU Book of the Year Celebration

    November 6, 2008 Nalo Hopkinson Speaks in HSU Library Lobby, 7-9 PM