Nigerian author and physicist Femi Fadugba’s forthcoming YA novel The Upper World has been optioned for film adaptation by Netflix. The novel follows a 16-year old boy named Esso who, at the height of personal crisis, uncovers the ability to see into the past and future.
Fadugba’s description of the plot:
My novel, The Upper World, is a contemporary story set in Peckham, London that follows 16-year-old Esso over a school day. Close to getting expelled, and caught up in a life-threatening feud, Esso receives an unexpected gift – access to a world where he can see glimpses of the past and the future. I explain his powers using physics, meaning the audience gets to uncover new concepts alongside Esso, whose life literally depends on them.
The Bookseller earlier reported that Fadugba sold the novel (part of a two-book series) to Penguin Random House Children’s Books in early August and that the book will be published in the UK by Penguin Random House and in the US by HarperCollins in 2021 and 2022 respectively.
Oscar-nominated actor Daniel Kaluuya, notable for his roles in Get Out, Black Panther and Queen & Slim, will star as Esso. Netflix reports that Kaluuya will also co-produce the film while Femi will serve as executive producer.
The novel is partly inspired by real events. In an author’s note shared on Netflix’s website, Femi revealed that his inspiration for the novel had come from the murder of a 15-year old boy in his Peckham estate, the same day Femi delivered a speech at the House of Commons after receiving a national award.
Fadugba is excited about “bringing the film adaptation to audiences around the world” and looks forward to “the impact the story can have.”
Congratulations to Femi Fadugba!