OCTAVIA E. BUTLER ESSAY COMPETITION
Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents, originally published in 1993 and 1998 respectively, seem more prescient than ever, with given this contemporary moment. Indeed, set in the 2020s—a decade that is fast approaching—Parable of the Sower presents Lauren Oya Olamina and her perilous gift of hyperempathy, the ability to experience the feelings of other living beings in her own body. Her empathy for all forms of life, compels her to create a quasi-religious belief system called Earthseed, and she goes forth sowing the seeds of her creed and developing a new community called Acorn, whose purpose is to seek new worlds. Olamina’s story and legacy are continued in Parable of the Talents. Butler further explores the setting of a dystopian United States under the grips of “Christian America,” a Christian fundamentalist regime led by a character who seeks to “make America great again.” Marked by its intensifying oppression and violence against women, anti-scientific sentiments, escapism via virtual reality (VR) headsets, and the reinstatement of slavery, this society seems on the precipice of (or perhaps has already fallen into) unfreedom.
Essay submissions may focus on either Parable of the Sower, Parable of the Talents, or both novels together! While you may choose to write an essay about topics other than those listed below, the ASCIFFF invites essays with a focus on (but not limited to) the following themes:
- Parallels and/or connections between Butler’s imagined world and the current U.S. political environment
- Empathy; hyperempathy
- Race/blackness related to affect/emotions
- Gender and emotions/emotional labor
- Connectivity (i.e. human communities/human connection vs. technological networks in the modern age)
- Lauren Oya Olamina’s hyperempathy and/or Acorn (the Earthseed community) compared to “Dreamasks” (virtual reality headsets)
- Use of VR in a dystopian context
- Ecocriticism/ environmentalism
The title is not to be counted in your word count. Essays should not exceed 1200 words, in English language only!
Line Spacing & Fonts - Approximately 2.5 pages single-spaced or approx. 5 pages double-spaced. Use Verdana 12 pt type or Plain text. And please make sure the text is black (no fancy colors please) and readable.
Title your essay and include the city/ state of where you reside. Previously published works, in whole or in part, will not be accepted. All essays are limited to writers currently residing in the United States.
Upload a PDF essay to our FilmFreeway submission page under Script! Here's the link - https://filmfreeway.com/AtlantaSCIFIfilmfestival It's Free to submit, just create a login and password and select "Script" as project type. We understand it's not a traditional form of submission but it is very user friendly. The 5 step process is below.
HOW TO SUBMIT YOUR ESSAY ON FILMFREEWAY
1) Project Information
- On the far right, under "Categories & Fees" click on Octavia E. Butler Essay Competition
- Scroll down and click on green "Submit Now" button (Submission is FREE).
- Create login and password.
1) Project Information
- Select "Add a Project."
- Project type - "Script" (we know it's not a script), "The Parables".
- Category - is Octavia Butler ESSAY COMPETITION
- Project Title - enter title of your essay (not the name of the competition).
- Brief Synopsis - Enter "N/A."
- Leave box unchecked for Non-English title and synopsis.
- Website and Social Media - We welcome submitters to enter any sites and social media handles that we can promote and share winners info.
2) Submitter Information
- Edit Submitter Information - Be sure to provide ONLY: Phone, City and State in case we need to mail your prize. Other info is not needed.
- Credits - there should only be one author/writer.
- Specifications - Script Type is "Other."
- Enter your name as the sole writer- We are only accepting one writer per essay.
- Script Type - Select "Other"
- Genres - Science Fiction or Sci-fi.
- Number of Pages - Enter the number of pages for your essay.
- Country of Origin - Select United States.
- Script Language - Select "English" (it's the only accepted language).
- Student Project - leave "No."
- First-time Screenwriter - Click yes or no if this is your first time ever writing an Essay.
5) Past Awards
- Past Awards - Essay's from prior competitions will Not be Accepted in this competition and will be disqualified.
- Click "Add Project File" to Upload a PDF document Only! (Do Not link your essay document).
- Do Not include a cover page.
- You will receive a confirmation
Remember to Promote Your Submission on Social Media!
But if you're in a huge rush, feel free to email your pdf doc to ASCIFFFCompetitions@gmail.com