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Octavia Butler

Age: 58

novelist whose science-fiction novels often featured strong-willed black women as protagonists. She won two Hugo and Nebula awards, and in 1995 became the first science-fiction writer to win a MacArthur Foundation fellowship. Her books include Parable of the Sower, Parable of the Talents, and Fledgling.

Died: Lake Forest Park, Wash., Feb. 24, 2006

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