Harvard graduate Tomi Adeyemi reportedly scored a million-dollar book + movie deal for her young adult trilogy. Her website confirms that the movie is currently in development with Karen Rosenfelt and Wyck Godfrey (Twilight, Maze Runner, The Fault In Our Stars) as producers. This trilogy is being published by Macmillan’s Children Publishing Group while the movie rights were acquired by Fox 2000.
The first part of the trilogy is titled Children of Blood and Bone. Drawing heavily from Yoruba cosmology, it tells the story of Zelie Adebola and her fight to bring back magic to to her homeland called Orisha.
This is a huge win for African literature. Adeyemi is the third African novelist to land a seven-figure deal in the last couple of years. Cameroonian novelist Imbolo Mbue was the first, followed by Yaa Gyasi, author of Homegoing. Apart from the fact that this proves that African women writers are slaying, it reveals that the global interest in African narrative is expanding beyond our wildest imagination. It’s been barely a week since news broke of Nnedi Okorafor’s Who Fears Death being optioned for an HBO series. Now Adeyemi’s book just might the next fantasy blockbuster we’re all going to see at the cinema.
In what has been referred to as a Black Lives Matter inspired fantasy, Adeyemi offers a compelling story with a clear message about race, violence, and injustice. In an interview with Teen Vogue, Adeyemi says: “This book wasn’t created in a vacuum…We live in a time where men, women, and children of color are being dehumanized and oppressed and unjustly murdered. Though my book is an epic fantasy, it’s directly tied to all of that pain.”
Adeyemi is a 23 years old Nigerian-American writer and creative writing coach. She studied English at Harvard University and now lives in San Diego, California. The heavy influence of Yoruba cosmology comes, in part, from her study of the Orishas in Brazil.
The publication date for Children of Blood and Bone is March 6, 2018. The novel has been described as having “the ability to crush you with heart-shattering *FEELS* bombs.” Adeyemi sees her novel as a black girl magic anthem: a beautiful story that lies at the intersection of race and girl power or, as she puts it, “a beautiful fantasy that gets in formation (think Beyoncé in Lemonade).”
Check out the synopsis of Children of Blood and Bone:
Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zelie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.
But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were targeted and killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.
Now, Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.
Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers—and her growing feelings for the enemy.
Could Children of Blood and Bone be Africa’s response to J. K. Rowling’s mega YA hit Harry Potter.