Science-fiction writer and novelist Octavia Estelle Butler was born in Pasadena, California, on June 22, 1947. She earned as Associate of Arts degree from Pasadena City College in 1968 and later attended California State University and the University of California. Her first novel, Patternmaster, was the first in a series about a society run by a group of telepaths who are mentally linked to one another. She explored the topics of race, poverty, politics, religion, and human nature in her works. She won a Hugo Award in 1984 for her short story Speech Sounds and a Hugo Award and Nebula Award in 1985 for her novella Bloodchild. She received a MacArthur Grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The award pays $295,000 over a five-year period to creative people who push the boundaries of their fields. She died in Lake Forest Park, Washington on February 24, 2006 at the age of 58.