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“Kindred” Reads And Feels Incredibly Relevant Right Now


First published in 1979, Octavia Butler's “Kindred” takes place in 1976 — our nation’s bicentennial. The book is a sci-fi novel, but it’s also historical fiction. The main character is Dana, a 26-year-old Black woman living in Los Angeles, trying to make it as a writer. Her husband, Kevin, is also a writer. He is white and a little older than Dana. As they are settling into a new house together, Dana finds herself suddenly transported through time and space to the antebellum south. In the past, she encounters her ancestors and has to figure out how to survive and help her ancestors survive as a young black woman in a slave state.

It's the June meeting of the Talk of Iowa Book Club. Host Charity Nebbe is joined by expert readers Lakesia Johnson, Akwi Nji and Amaya Dawson to discuss the classic sci-fi novel.

Interested in joining the next meeting of the Talk of Iowa Book Club? Our July selection is "Clap When You Land" by Elizabeth Acevedo. Join the discussion on July 20th.

You can also chat about book club selections and other literary interests with Charity and hundreds of other readers in the Talk of Iowa Book Club Facebook Group.


  • Lakesia Johnson, associate professor and department chair of Gender, Women’s and Sexuality Studies, Grinnell College
  • Akwi Nji, artist, poet and storyteller from Cedar Rapids
  • Amaya Dawson, student, Cedar Rapids Washington
Talk of Iowa Book ClubBooks & ReadingRace
Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa
Matthew was a producer for IPR's River to River and Talk of Iowa