KU Common Book 2023-24 - Parable of the Sower: Getting Started

The Author


Photo of an African American woman in a floral chair. She is wearing a white, long sleeved shirt. The photo was taken in her home library.  She is smiling slightly at the camera. Photo credit: (c) Patti Perret/The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens

Author's Bio: OCTAVIA E. BUTLER was a renowned African American author who received a MacArthur “Genius” Grant and PEN West Lifetime Achievement Award for her body of work. Born in Pasadena in 1947, she was raised by her mother and her grandmother.  She was the author of several award-winning novels including PARABLE OF THE SOWER (1993), which was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, and PARABLE OF THE TALENTS (1995) winner of the Nebula Award for the best science fiction novel published that year. She was acclaimed for her lean prose, strong protagonists, and social observations in stories that range from the distant past to the far future. (octaviabutler.com)



Images, Description, and Editor's Bio are authorized for use by the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial International 4.0 license (CC BY-NC 4.0 License). The book cover image has been altered by adding a yellow background. Quotes from the publisher's description of the book are also included.


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Welcome to KU Common Book 2023-24 - Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler

The Nebula Award-winning author of Kindred presents a "gripping" dystopian novel about a woman fleeing Los Angeles as America spirals into chaos (The New York Times Book Review). Lauren Olamina and her family live in one of the only safe neighborhoods remaining on the outskirts of Los Angeles. Behind the walls of their defended enclave, Lauren's father, a preacher, and a handful of other citizens try to salvage what remains of a culture that has been destroyed by drugs, war, and chronic shortages of water, gasoline, and more. While her father tries to lead people on the righteous path, Lauren struggles with hyperempathy, a condition that makes her extraordinarily sensitive to the pain of others. When fire destroys their compound, Lauren's family is killed and she is forced out into a world that is facing apocalypse. With a handful of other refugees, Lauren must make her way north to safety, along the way conceiving a revolutionary idea that may mean salvation for all mankind. From a recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship who has won multiple Nebula and Hugo Awards, this iconic novel is "a gripping tale of survival and a poignant account of growing up sane in a disintegrating world" (The New York Times Book Review).

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KU Common Book

The KU Common Book is a campus-wide initiative to engage students, faculty, and staff across the university.  A new book is selected each year that fosters critical thinking, and generates opportunities for shared experiences and conversation about topics and issues of significance in today’s world.  The program has three goals:

·         Build community among students, faculty, and staff

·         Encourage intellectual engagement through reading, discussion, curriculum, and events

·         Create a shared conversation about topics and issues of significance in today’s world

The program is coordinated by the KU Libraries, the Hall Center for the Humanities, and the Division of Academic Success.

Other Works by Octavia Butler

Parable of the Talents book cover

Parable of the Talents

Sequel to Parable of the Sower

Unexpected Stories

Request this title through Interlibrary Loan

Wild Seed

Patternists Book 1 of 4

Mind of My Mind

Patternists Book 2 of 4

Clay's Ark

Patternists Book 3 of 4

Pattern Master

Patternists Book 4 of 4


Out of print


Xenogenesis Book 1 of 3

Adulthood Rites

Xenogenesis Book 2 of 3


Xenogenesis Book 3 of 3