Kasi Lemmons, director of the critically-acclaimed historical drama Harriet (2019), will be adapting and directing Maaza Mengiste’s The Shadow King (2019).

This comes less than a year after the rights for the film were acquired by Atlas Entertainment, the production company behind blockbusters such as Wonder Woman and Justice League.

Lemmons said: “Maaza Mengiste’s mesmerizing novel takes my breath away […] The imagery is so rich and powerful and the characters so vividly drawn, it naturally lends itself to adaptation. I’m very honored to be a part of bringing this brilliant book to the screen and I’m thrilled to be working with everyone at Atlas.”

Maaza is “thrilled” by the news, as she expresses in an Instagram post: “I’m thrilled to make this announcement: The fabulous @kasi_lemmons will be directing the film adaptation of #TheShadowKingNovel, produced by the great team @atlasentertainment !”

The Shadow King is an award-winning novel, a brilliant work celebrating the lives of women in early 20th century Ethiopia. It was on our 2019 Notable African Books of 2019. “Set in the 1930s during the second Italo-Ethiopian war, it tells the story of Hirut, a peasant girl who inspires a band of women to stir a world dominated by men.”

Congrats Maaza!


Image by Maaza Mengiste via Instagram.