• A Handful of Earth, a Handful of Sky

  • The World of Octavia Butler
  • By: Lynell George
  • Narrated by: Adenrele Ojo
  • Length: 4 hrs and 15 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (7 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A Handful of Earth, A Handful of Sky: The World of Octavia E. Butler offers a blueprint for a creative life from the perspective of award-winning science-fiction writer and “MacArthur Genius” Octavia E. Butler. It is a collection of ideas about how to look, listen, breathe - how to be in the world. 

This audiobook is about the creative process. Author Lynell George not only engages the world that shaped Octavia E. Butler, she also explores the very specific processes through which Butler shaped herself - her unique process of self-making. It’s about creating a life with what little you have - hand-me-down books, repurposed diaries, journals, stealing time to write in the middle of the night, making a small check stretch - bit by bit by bit. A Handful of Earth, A Handful of Sky draws the listener into Butler’s world, creating a sense of unmatched intimacy with the deeply private writer.

There’s a great resurgence of interest in Butler’s work. Readers have been turning to her writing to make sense of contemporary chaos, to find a plot point that might bring clarity or calm. Her books have become the centerpiece of book-group discussions, while universities and entire cities have chosen her titles to anchor “Big Read”, “Freshman Read”, and “One Book/One City” programs. The interest has gone beyond the printed page; Ava DuVernay is adapting Butler’s novel Dawn for television. A Handful of Earth, A Handful of Sky brings Octavia’s prescient wisdom and careful thinking out of the novel and into the world.

A Handful of Earth, A Handful of Sky will be beloved by both scholars and fans of Butler, as well as aspiring writers and creatives who are looking for a model or a spark of inspiration. It offers a survey of a creative life - a map that others can follow. Butler once wrote that science fiction was simply “a handful of earth, a handful of sky, and everything in between”. This audiobook offers a slice of the in between.

©2020 Lynell George (P)2021 Random House Audio

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  • J. Smith
  • 02-18-22

Precious insight into an incredible person.

I have been an avid reader all my life but at the age of 37 years old, I can say with absolute confidence that Octavia Butler’s work remains my absolute favourite. This short but beautiful biography takes you to the years before she was a known writer and gives a profound insight into the day to day, backbreaking, exhausting stuff of becoming a creative when the odds seem so very stacked against you. At the end of the book, I felt inspired, in awe and deeply moved. I am so sad that we lost Butler so early as I truly believe she is one of the most important writers that we have had and I am grateful to this book for the deeper connection it gives to her and her mind. Now I think it’s time for me to revisit Butler’s books… again!