Nigerian-American author Nnedi Okorafor will publish 3 fantasy novellas geared toward adult readers with DAW Books in 2024. The first one titled She Who Knows is the prequel to Okorafor’s award-winning debut novel Who Fears Death, currently in development for an HBO TV series with George R.R. Martin as the producer. The much awaited She Who Knows will be followed by two sequels in later seasons.
Okorafor is well known for her prowess with crafting remarkable Africanfuturist stories. She won the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel in 2011 with her debut Who Fears Death. The story is set in post-apocalyptic Africa and features a female survivor who gives birth to a powerful baby girl named Onyesonwu, whose name means “Who fears death?” and is gifted with powerful magic. Okorafor’s upcoming novella She Who Knows is the prequel to that story and follows Onyesonwu’s mother, Najeeba, on a harrowing journey to hone her power.
Read the synopsis for Who Fears Death below:
In a post-apocalyptic Africa, the world has changed in many ways; yet in one region genocide between tribes still bloodies the land. A woman who has survived the annihilation of her village and a terrible rape by an enemy general wanders into the desert, hoping to die. Instead, she gives birth to an angry baby girl with hair and skin the color of sand. Gripped by the certainty that her daughter is different—special—she names her Onyesonwu, which means “Who fears death?” in an ancient language.
It doesn’t take long for Onye to understand that she is physically and socially marked by the circumstances of her conception. She is Ewu—a child of rape who is expected to live a life of violence, a half-breed rejected by her community. But Onye is not the average Ewu. Even as a child, she manifests the beginnings of a remarkable and unique magic. As she grows, so do her abilities, and during an inadvertent visit to the spirit realm, she learns something terrifying: someone powerful is trying to kill her.
Desperate to elude her would-be murderer and to understand her own nature, she embarks on a journey in which she grapples with nature, tradition, history, true love, and the spiritual mysteries of her culture, and ultimately learns why she was given the name she bears: Who Fears Death.
Who Fears Death has received much acclaim and is in progress to become an HBO TV series. We cannot wait to see how Okorafor expands on Onyesonwu’s mother’s storyline in She Who Knows!
In a statement, Okorafor shared, “I’ve wanted to write this story for over a decade . . . It’s been dwelling in my head like a living storm. If you thought Onyesonwu from Who Fears Death was intense, wait until you truly meet her mother. Phew!”
Nnedi Okorafor is an award-winning Nigerian-American speculative fiction writer and holds a PhD from the University of Illinois, Chicago. Okorafor’s 2015 novella Binti won the Hugo and Nebula Awards, while her 2017 YA novel Akata Warrior wone the Locus and Lodestar Awards. She also won the prestigious Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature for her 2005 YA novel Zahrah the Windseeker. Her science fiction comic series LaGuardia won the Hugo Award, while Shuri is a Nommo Award winner.
Congrats to Okorafor on the upcoming novellas! Stay tuned for more details.