Radio Imagination


To further explore Octavia E. Butler’s lasting legacy, Clockshop has launched the Radio Imagination podcast, co-produced with Collin Campbell. Listen below for all recorded episodes.

Episode 1

Welcome to Radio Imagination

Released April 22, 2016
1 minute

Join us as we use the archives of Octavia E. Butler to examine the work, influence and legacy one of the world’s most unique voices.

Listen to Episode 1 on iTunes

Episode 2

Writers Premiere New Works

Released May 2, 2016
59 minutes

Writers Tisa Bryant, Lynell George, Robin Coste Lewis, and Fred Moten premiere new works of poetry and creative nonfiction under the stars in the Clockshop courtyard. For these commissions, each writer spent an extended period of time working in the Octavia E. Butler archive at The Huntington Library.

Listen to Episode 2 on iTunes

Episode 3

A Writer and Her Agent

Released May 23, 2016
20 minutes

Merrilee Heifetz met Octavia E. Butler as a young agent looking for writers. What followed was 20 years of letters, conversations and insights into someone breaking the borders of fiction.

Listen to Episode 3 on iTunes

Episode 4

‘Devil Girl’ as Anti-Muse

Released June 1, 2016
11 minutes

How a kitchy sci-fi film became a source of inspiration for Octavia E. Butler and the writers who came after her.

Listen to Episode 4 on iTunes

Episode 5

Archiving a Writer’s Life

Released June 29, 2016
13 minutes

Octavia E. Butler died unexpectedly at 58. After her death, a group of curators and writers have sorted through her papers, working to reveal the writer and thinker we didn’t come to know in her lifetime.

Listen to Episode 5 on iTunes

Episode 6

Heading to Work With Octavia E. Butler

Released August 1, 2016
16 minutes

Butler rode the bus for nearly an hour everyday to get to the Central Library downtown—reading, writing and researching. What does her dedication to public libraries tell us about who she was as a writer?

Listen to Episode 6 on iTunes

Episode 7

Artists in the Archive

Released August 17, 2016
17 minutes

Radio Imagination artists Mendi + Keith Obadike and Connie Samaras dive into Octavia E. Butler’s archive, gleaning inspiration from her notes to produce new work of their own.

For more information about the Radio Imagination exhibition at the Armory Center for the Arts, click here.

Listen to Episode 7 on iTunes

Episode 8

Nicole Mitchell and a Musical Tribute to Butler

Released October 19, 2016
24 minutes

Nicole M. Mitchell is a creative flutist, composer, bandleader and educator. In 2008, she released Xenogenesis Suite: A Tribute to Octavia E. Butler, followed by her 2014 release of Intergalactic Beings (Xenogenesis II). Both albums are inspired by the writings of Octavia E. Butler. On October 27, 2016, Mitchell’s Black Earth Ensemble will perform songs from both albums at the Huntington Library, featuring new and old collaborators exploring updated interpretations of the themes explored in Butler’s work. More info here.

Listen to Episode 8 on iTunes

Episode 9

Revisiting Kindred 37 Years Later

Released November 7, 2016
21 minutes

Kindred is Octavia E. Butler’s most popular novel. It was published in 1979 and the seed for it was planted at Pasadena City College, where Butler was a student. This fall, over 2,500 Pasadena City College students will read Butler’s novel as part of their “One Book, One College” initiative. What is it about Kindred—a novel that’s more fantasy than science fiction—that makes it so popular?

Listen to Episode 9 on iTunes

Episode 10

Riding the Bus with Lauren Halsey

Released November 29, 2016
10 minutes

In a city as big as Los Angeles with such a well-documented car culture, we often hear that you need a car in LA. But what can the experience of public transit offer a writer? What about an artist? In this episode, we take a ride from West Hollywood to Downtown with commissioned Radio Imagination artist and LA-native Lauren Halsey. Halsey’s work takes inspiration from her neighborhood in South LA and the visual culture of small businesses throughout Los Angeles. Like Butler, she gets around on public transit, but there was a time when she used to drive…

Listen to Episode 10 on iTunes

Episode 11

Uncovering Octavia E. Butler’s Pasadena

Released January 4, 2017
15 minutes

Ayana A.H. Jamieson is the founder and director of the Octavia E. Butler Legacy Network. In December 2016, she led a bus tour through Pasadena and Altadena, California, exploring Butler’s hometown and the ways its landscapes and politics influenced her worldview. In this episode, Tom Carroll of Tom Explores Los Angeles talks with Jamieson about this tour.

Listen to Episode 11 on iTunes