On Tuesday, September 19th, 6 pm - 8 pm, please join the Emily Taylor Center for Women & Gender Equity in partnership with the Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction and the KU Common Book Program for the second annual Feminist Futures Forum — Octavia Taught Me: 12 Lessons from Parable of the Sower, a conversation with Olaronke Akinmowo of The Free Black Women's Library.


Originally released in 1993, Parable of the Sower, the KU 2023-24 Common Book, is a prophetic novel that has become a benchmark, inspiration, and guidebook for the many artists, activists, scholars, and cultural workers of the present day. In this session, we will list and discuss the themes, lessons, and ideas explored in this text. We will also talk about the genre of speculative fiction in general and address why this book feels especially relevant at this moment and how, through this story, Butler provides us with survival strategies that we can employ to enhance and nurture our lives and the lives of those around us. Participants are encouraged to read the entire novel to prepare for this conversation, as well as to bring their own questions and ideas.



Olaronke Akinmowo (she/her) is an interdisciplinary artist who works in collage, papermaking, printmaking, and stop-motion animation. She is also a Set Decorator/Dresser for Film & TV and the Creator/Director of  The Free Black Women’s Library, a social art project that features a collection of over five thousand books written by Black women and Black non-binary folks, as well as a wide array of free public programming, a virtual Reading Club and a weekly book swap.

Her work prioritizes the liberation, safety, health, and care of Black women and Black marginalized folks. Through it, she expands/creates radical and loving narratives that explore the beauty and complications of  Black life.  She is guided by the principles of nature and ritual and deeply believes in the transformative power of literacy and community. She has received notable artist fellowships and residencies from the New York Foundation for the Arts, Women’s Studio Workshop, BRIC Arts, The Robert Blackburn Printmaking Shop, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, Hyperallergic, Teen Vogue, Oprah magazine, BUST magazine, and The Drew Barrymore Show.  A proud mom, union member,  cultural worker, busybody, book fairy, plant fiend, and dance machine, she lives and thrives in Brooklyn, NYC. Follow her @thefreeblackwomenslibrary join her bookish community and stay connected.



Since 2018, the Emily Taylor for Women & Gender Equity has offered programs in partnership with the Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction that explore the relationship between speculative fiction and feminism as a means of analyzing gender in the past and present as well as a way of imagining equitable futures. The annual Feminist Futures Forum, established in 2022 to correspond with the Gunn Center's annual Sturgeon Symposium, continues this tradition.



The Emily Taylor Center for Women & Gender Equity welcomes and encourages people with disabilities to participate in our events. Please email emilytaylorcenter@ku.edu with any accessibility questions or accommodation requests. 

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