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Parable Read and Civic Transformation

Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower has become an ever present staple in American literature, and though published in 1993, remains continuously relevant today. With rising mounting concerns surrounding climate change and the proverbial end of the world, Parable of the Sower offers us lessons on survival, community, and striving for a sense of normalcy amongst the chaos. The impact of Butler’s work goes beyond Parable of the Sower, dubbed the godmother of Afrofuturism — defined as “a movement in literature, music, art, etc., featuring futuristic or science fiction themes which incorporate elements of black history and culture.”

Toshi Reagon and Bernice Johnson Reagon’s operatic adaptation of the seminal novel — arriving at ArtsEmerson MAR 26 — propels Butler’s work into a new format while retaining and expanding the message of resilience and collective action. For us at ArtsEmerson, we wanted to take both forms of this story and bring them together, prompting the creation of Parable Read. Modeled after our Play Reading Book Club and similar to our Citizen Read (our citywide read of Claudia Rankine’s Citizen in partnership with The White Card) Parable Read is an opportunity for the entire Boston community to read and study the novel, and then join us in several conversations regarding topics of the book, with the artist Toshi Reagon, and attending a performance of Parable of the Sower to round out their experience.

For this particular rendition of our Play Reading Book Club, we’re thrilled to be partnering with the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, hosting a discussion with Toshi Reagon Climate Change, Survival, and Deepening Our Humanity on MAR 13. Free and open to the public, this event is both for those who are participating in Parable Read and for those who are generally curious about Toshi Reagon, the creation and importance of Parable of the Sower, and what does surviving the future look like.

To learn more about Parable Read, click here.

To RSVP to Climate Change, Survival, and Deepening Our Humanity, click here.

To buy tickets to Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower at the Emerson Cutler Majestic Theatre MAR 26-29, click here.

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