Western Washington University has selected “Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements” as the Western Reads book for the 2018-2019 academic year.
Western Reads is a campus-wide program that serves the university’s first year mission by promoting intellectual engagement, community and civil discourse with new students through experiences related to selected texts.
“Octavia’s Brood” is a compilation of short stories written by a diverse group of activists, artists, poets, and organizers involved in building movements for social change, brought together by editors Walidah Imarisha and adrienne maree brown.
“All organizing is science fiction,” said Imarisha, who spoke at Western during last year’s MLK Day celebration. “We want organizers and movement builders to be able to claim the vast space of possibility, to be birthing visionary stories.”
“The Western Reads Selection Committee was drawn to this book for a variety of reasons including the array of authors who contributed to it, the interdisciplinary nature of the issues at the heart of the short stories, and the potential of the speculative fiction genre to open unexpected ways of responding to our current political climate,” said Molly Ware, associate professor of Secondary Education at Western and incoming director of Western Reads.
Dedicated to renowned African American science fiction writer Octavia E. Butler, “Octavia’s Brood” focuses on the struggle in the quest for change that was central to Butler’s work. As such, the stories and essays in Octavia’s Brood invite the reader to wrestle with the complexity at the intersection of identity and imagination and to enter the gray areas of race, class, gender, sexuality, militarism, inequality, oppression, resistance and, most importantly, hope central to Butler’s writing.
Western Reads will use the stories from Octavia’s Brood alongside those of faculty, staff, alumni, and students at WWU and various national and international social change leaders to explore questions like: How can we build community for change? How can we envision and create a future that serves all of us? How can we stay engaged and find hope in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenge? Can I really make a difference?
Check the Western Reads website for details in early July or contact Molly Ware at firstname.lastname@example.org with ideas or to learn more about how to get involved. For more information about the Western Reads program, visit www.westernreads.wwu.edu or contact the program at Western.Reads@wwu.edu.