One City, One Read: Parable of the Sower

"All that you touch You Change. All that you Change Changes you. The only lasting truth is Change."

— Octavia E. Butler, Parable of the Sower

Join the Festival, the New Haven Free Public Library, the Yale Schwarzman Center and partners across the city in celebrating the magnificent work of Octavia Butler's Parable of the Sower as One City, One Read. Featuring events citywide inspired by and related to the core themes and values of Parable, there will be something for everyone: from performances and screenings to lectures, panels, and guided discussions.

A startlingly prescient science fiction masterwork, Parable of the Sower is the “brilliant, endlessly rich” (John Green, New York Times) story of Lauren Olamina, a 15-year-old Black girl in a not-too-distant future of climate catastrophe and economic devastation. After her family home is burned to the ground, she travels through California on foot, powered by her near-prophetic belief in the only constant in life being Change, and in her journeys gathers followers to become the community known as Earthseed. Parable received a 1995 Nebula Award and was a New York Times Bestseller in 2020 due to its relatable themes of social inequality, climate change, infrastructure collapse, and migration. 

Parable has seen a second life, including a graphic novel adaptation by award-winning graphic novelists John Jennings and Damian Duffy, a podcast with activist and writer Adrienne Maree Brown and composer Toshi Reagon and Bernice Johnson Reagon’s opera adaptation. 

In New Haven, One City, One Read will be fully immersed across artistic organizations of the Elm City. Partners include the New Haven Free Public Library, Artspace New Haven, Best Video Film & Cultural Center, Yale Schwarzman Center, Elm City LIT Fest, Albertus Magnus College, Bethesda Lutheran Church, New Haven Public Schools, Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen, Gateway Community College, Inner City News, and more. 

These deep collaborative partnerships will present more than 20 different themed events over the course of the spring and summer. These are the currently confirmed events. Watch this space for updates!

Find a Book Club in New Haven!

Dig deeper into Parable of the Sower with fellow readers from across the city.

New Haven Free Public Library Parable Film Festival

In Partnership with the New Haven Free Public Library

FREE. The NHFPL will be featuring screenings in every branch!

Film Screening: Zerzura

In partnership with Best Video & Sahel Sounds

FREE. Watch a hero's journey unfold in this African acid western with an introduction by the film's director.

Sun Ra Tribute Concert

In partnership with Best Video Film & Cultural Center

FREE. Travel through space on a ship flown by acolytes of Sun Ra's Arkestra in this outdoor tribute concert hosted by Best Video Film & Cultural Center.

Film Screening: Space is the Place (1974)

In partnership with Best Video Film & Cultural Center

FREE. Transport yourself to an out-of-this-world experience for an outdoor screening of the Afrofutusim sci-fi film Space Is The Place (1974) at the Spring Glen United Methodist Church. BYOChair! 

NHFPL Presents: One City, One Read Explores Science Fiction: A Night with Tochi Onyebuchi

An author talk presented by the New Haven Free Public Library

FREE. Hear local, best-selling science fiction author Tochi Onyebuchi speak in this library event.

Creative Arts Workshop Presents: Reshaped and Refocused

A One City, One Read Partner Event

FREE. Creative Arts Workshop is featuring the work of the artists Amira Brown, Greg Aimé and Mosho in the exhibition “Reshaped and Refocused” excavating themes of novelist Octavia Butler’s sci-fi classic Parable of the Sower

Octavia E. Butler's Parable of the Sower: An Opera by Toshi Reagon and Bernice Johnson Reagon

Co-presented with the Yale Schwarzman Center

This fully staged opera created by Toshi Reagan in collaboration with her mother, Bernice Johnson Reagon, brings together more than 30 original anthems drawn from 200 years of black music to recreate Butler’s sci-fi, Afrofuturist masterpiece.

Youth Programs

FREE. One City, One Read includes teens and kids too!

Find a Copy of PARABLE OF THE SOWER

Just some of the places you can find a copy of PARABLE in the Elm City