Inspiring breakout star JJ Bola recently announced the acquisition of screen rights for his second novel The Selfless Act of Breathing. The film will be produced by Bron Studios, the powerhouse behind popular titles like House of Gucci, Joker, and the Oscar-nominated Licorice Pizza.
According to Deadline, the American playwright Keenan Scott will adapt the novel for the screen. Scott is best known for his work Thoughts of a Colored Man.
This is wonderful news for JJ Bola who has seen nothing short of a stellar career since he shot to the limelight in 2017. His debut novel No Place to Call Home famously sold out in a record two days at the 2017 Writivism Festival. The following year, he joined no other than the two-time Oscar winner Cate Blanchett on a global stage to discuss the role of storytelling in re-framing the refugee experience. He is signed to Pontas Literary Agency.
Described as “Moonlight meets Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” The Selfless Act of Breathing chronicles the life of Michael, a suicidal immigrant in the UK who travels to America, grappling with the harsh realities of police brutality and mental health issues. The novel was published last year by Dialogue Books, an imprint of Little, Brown.
Regarding the acquisition, Bola said:
The Selfless Act of Breathing being brought to the screen is incredibly exciting for me. Film is such a powerful tool of transformation, and the possibility of telling this timely, poignant story, at a time like this in the world, fills me with hope. I want to thank everyone who has believed in this story from the beginning, my agency, and the team at Bron. I thank my readers and I look forward to reaching a new audience, via a new medium, and helping us all — which is the reason I wrote this novel — to remember that no matter how we feel, we are not alone.
It’s safe to say 2022 is the year of film rights for African writers. Since the beginning of the year, we’ve brought news and updates on the screen adaptations or features of novels by Blitz Bazuwale, Anietie Isong, Caleb Azumah Nelson, Lauren Beukes, Tolá Okogwu, now JJ Bola and the year is just beginning! We couldn’t be more pleased with all the love and attention these deserving gems are getting.
Super congratulations to JJ Bola!