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Mo Abudu and Wole Soyinka. Image from Premium Times.

Nollywood personality Mo Abudu, CEO of EbonyLife Television, has announced a film adaptation of Wole Soyinka’s Death and the King’s Horseman. She broke the news on her Instagram page, @moabudu, with a photo of herself and Soyinka having lunch at Scotts in London. Premium Timesreport quotes her as posting the following:

“Work and planning continue with EbonyLife Films development of our upcoming feature film – Death and the King’s Horseman- Yes beautiful people.

“EbonyLife Films has acquired the rights to make this incredible work into a feature film for global distribution.

“We will continue to change the narrative and tell our stories. Lord we thank you for the incredible opportunities you give.”

Written in Cambridge during Soyinka’s exile from Nigeria, and first performed in 1975, Death and the King’s Horseman is based on a historical incident in which the horseman of a Yoruba King was prevented from committing ritual suicide by the colonial authorities. The play has five scenes and is among Soyinka’s most influential, earning a mention in his 1986 Nobel Prize citation (Also mentioned are the plays A Dance of the Forests and A Play of Giants, the poetry collections Idanre, and Other Poems and A Shuttle in the Crypt, and the memoir The Man Died: Prison Notes).

This is the second announcement of a film adaptation of a Soyinka play this year, after director-producer Tunde Kelani stated that he is adapting The Lion and the Jewel. Mo Abudu’s EbonyLife, meanwhile, is best known for the 2016 commercial hit The Wedding Party. 

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About Otosirieze Obi-Young

View all posts by Otosirieze Obi-Young
Otosirieze Obi-Young is a writer, an academic, literary journalist, and Deputy Editor of Brittle Paper. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review, Transition, and in an anthology of the Gerald Kraak Award for which he was shortlisted. His work has further been shortlisted for the Miles Morland Writing Scholarship in 2016 and a Pushcart Prize in 2015. He attended the 2018 Miles Morland Foundation Creative Writing Workshop. He is the curator of the ART NAIJA SERIES, a sequence of themed e-anthologies of writing and visual art exploring different aspects of Nigerianness. The first, ENTER NAIJA: THE BOOK OF PLACES (October, 2016), focuses on cities in Nigeria. The second, WORK NAIJA: THE BOOK OF VOCATIONS (June, 2017), focuses on professions in Nigeria. He studied History and Literature at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, is currently completing a postgraduate programme in African Studies, and teaches English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. He has completed a collection of short stories, YOU SING OF A LONGING, and is working on a novel. He is represented by David Godwin Associates literary agency. When bored, the boy just Googles Rihanna.

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I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

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