Skip to main content

Preface- Reading Program: 2014

A guide for all Preface Novel Libguides

Kindred by Octavia Butler. Green Border.

PREFACE First-Year Reading Program

What Is Preface?    

Preface is a first-year reading program that introduces students to the joy of academic inquiry. As such, it combines guided reading of a selected text with co-curricular events in which students discuss questions raised by the text with university, community and national experts. During this program, first-year students read the Preface text in English 101 and most University 101 courses and attend related events in both English 101 and 102.  

While Preface is geared primarily toward first-year students, it offers a calendar of events that are relevant to a wide range of university courses as well as the community. Therefore the events are planned in close cooperation with various departments and offices of USC Upstate and most events are free and open to the public. This fall, first-year writing students will read Octavia Butler's Kindred.  

Preface Goals

The intent of this series of programs is to help USC Upstate first-year students make connections to each other and to the University, to practice skills that contribute to success in college, and to discuss how a deeper understanding of a shared reading can inform the way we make personal decisions and influence public policy today.

For more information about previous Preface Program readings and events, see the Preface Program Archive.

PREFACE Events Fall 2014

Sept. 2, 6-7 p.m., CLC Ballroom 
Lamar Nelson, Lead Archeologist of The Foothills Chapter of the Archeological Society of South Carolina, 
"The Plantation Next Door: Archeological Findings from Walnut Grove Plantation."

September 9, 6-7 p.m., CLC Ballroom
Dr. Cassandra Jones, Assistant Professor of African-American Studies,
"Afrofuturism: Re-mixing History.”

September 17 (Constitution Day), 6-7 p.m., Tukey Theater
Dr. Dwight Lambert, Professor of Political Science,
"The Constitution and Inequality: Examining America's Birth Defect."

September 25, 6-7 p.m., CLC Ballroom
Dr. Carmen Harris, Associate Professor of History,
"All Our Kin: Slavery and Family Relations across the Color Line."

September 30, 6-7 p.m., CLC Ballroom
Dr. Keith McDaniel, Instructor of African-American Studies and Senior Pastor of Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church, 
"The Bible and Slavery: The Evolution of Black Theological Thought."

October 2-5, 8 p.m., HPAC Theater
USC Upstate's The Shoestring Players stage "To Kill a Mocking Bird."

October 8, 6-7 p.m., CLC Ballroom
Dr. Jennifer Parker, Professor of Psychology,
"Sex, Power and Coercion: Examining the Dynamics of Abusive Relationships."

October 16, 6-7 p.m., CLC Ballroom
Dr. Tracey Weldon, Associate Professor of Linguistics at USC-Columbia,
"Talking White, Talking Black: Examining the Links between Language, Class and Racial Identity.”

October 30, 7-8 p.m., URC Great Room
Keynote Address by Nisi Shawl
"Octavia Butler's Positive Obsession: Life and the  Urge to Create"

Award-winning author Nisi Shawl has written extensively on her friend Octavia Butler, and recently co-edited an anthology about her life and work (Strange Matings: Science Fiction, Feminism, African American Voices, and Octavia E. Butler from Aqueduct Press).  Shawl serves on the board of the Carl Brandon Society, administrators of the Butler Memorial Scholarship

November 5, 6 p.m., URC Great Room
Showing of the 2014 Academy Award winning film for Best Picture, "Twelve Years a Slave."

Preface Reading

Book - See the Circulation Desk for Books on Reserve (Library use only)

Octavia Butler Biography

Octavia Estelle Butler, often referred to as the "grand dame of science fiction," was born in Pasadena, California on June 22, 1947.  She received an Associate of Arts degree in 1968 from Pasadena Community College, and also attended California State University in Los Angeles and the University of California, Los Angeles.  During 1969 and 1970, she studied at the Screenwriter's Guild Open Door Program and the Clarion Science Fiction Writers' Workshop, where she took a class with science fiction master Harlan Ellison (who later became her mentor), and which led to Butler selling her first science fiction stories.

Butler's first story, "Crossover," was published in the 1971 Clarion anthology.  Patternmaster, her first novel and the first title of her five-volume Patternist series, was published in 1976, followed by Mind of My Mind in 1977.  Others in the series include Survivor (1978), Wild Seed (1980), which won the James Tiptree Award, and Clay's Ark (1984).

With the publication of Kindred in 1979, Butler was able to support herself writing full time.  She won the Hugo Award in 1984 for her short story, "Speech Sounds," and in 1985, Butler's novelette "Bloodchild" won a Hugo Award, a Nebula Award, the Locus Award, and an award for best novelette from Science Fiction Chronicle.

Other books by Octavia E. Butler include the Xenogenesis trilogy: Dawn (1987), Adulthood Rites (1988) and Imago (1989), and a short story collection, Bloodchild and Other Stories (1995).  Parable of the Sower (1993), the first of her Earthseed series, was a finalist for the Nebula Award as well as a New York Times Notable Book of the Year.  The book's sequel, Parable of the Talents (1998), won a Nebula Award.

In 1995 Butler was awarded a prestigious MacArthur Foundation fellowship.


1980, Creative Arts Award, L.A. YWCA

1984, Hugo Award for Best Short Story - Speech Sounds

1984, Nebula Award for Best Novelette - Bloodchild

1985, Science Fiction Chronicle Award for Best Novelette - Bloodchild

1985, Locus Award for Best Novelette - Bloodchild

1985, Hugo Award for Best Novelette - Bloodchild

1995, MacArthur Foundation "Genius" Grant

1999, Nebula Award for Best Novel - Parable of the Talents

2000, PEN American Center lifetime achievement award in writing

2010, Inductee Science Fiction Hall of Fame

2012, Solstice Award, Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America

"Octavia E. Butler." Web. 12 July 2014. <>.

Guide to Reading Kindred

"Overview: Kindred." Novels for Students. Ed. Marie Rose Napierkowski and Deborah A. Stanley. Vol. 8. Detroit: Gale, 2000. Literature Resource Center. Web. 6 Aug. 2014.

Gale Document Number: GALE|H1430005228

Other help with this story go to

Search Gale's Literature Resoruce Center for Kindred and Butler, Octavia