From a media release:
LAWRENCE HILL’S TOUR DE FORCE NOVEL, THE BOOK OF NEGROES, TO BE ADAPTED TO A MINI-SERIES FOR CBC AND BET
- DIRECTED & CO-WRITTEN BY CLEMENT VIRGO
Conquering Lion Pictures, Out Of Africa Entertainment and leading independent studio Entertainment One (eOne) are pleased to announce the epic mini-series adaptation of The Book of Negroes, based on the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize-winning novel by Lawrence Hill (published in the US, Australia and New Zealand as Someone Knows My Name). Production will begin shooting in South Africa in the fall and will air on CBC in Canada and BET in the US.
The mini-series is written by multiple-award winning filmmaker Clement Virgo (The Wire, Poor Boy’s Game) and co-written by Lawrence Hill. The Book of Negroes will be directed by Clement Virgo.
Selected by Oprah Magazine as a 2010 top Summer Read and close to a million copies sold worldwide, The Book of Negroes depicts the extraordinary life journey of Aminata Diallo – an indomitable African woman who cuts a swath through a world that is predisposed to underestimate her. Kidnapped by slave traders in West Africa and subsequently enslaved in South Carolina, Aminata must navigate her way through the American Revolution in New York, the isolated refuge of Nova Scotia and the treacherous jungles of Sierra Leone, before ultimately securing her freedom in England at the dawn of the 19th century.
“Lawrence Hill has given us a gift with his novel The Book of Negroes and I’m now thrilled to be able to convey the exhilaration I felt on first reading it into an exciting cinematic experience for a worldwide audience,” said Virgo.
“We feel extremely fortunate to have two broadcasters so committed to this project. The Book of Negroes is a widely read book in Canada and the CBC has been supportive of this project from day one. BET are launching The Book of Negroes as their first “event” mini-series, adding this first rate show to their growing slate of original scripted programming,” added Executive Producer, Damon D’Oliveira.
“Reminiscent of the classic TV series Roots, The Book Of Negroes depicts a universal narrative about love, loss, and human survival against a critical moment in history which affected the social fabric of the US, Canada and the UK,” said Executive Producer Lance Samuels.
“We are extremely proud to be a part of bringing this remarkable novel to life as a mini-series. Adapted by acclaimed author Lawrence Hill and talented filmmaker Clement Virgo, we know this important story will inspire and enlighten Canadians across the country,” commented Sally Catto, Executive Director Commissioned and Scripted Programming, CBC English Television.
“We are excited to partner with Conquering Lion Pictures, Out of Africa Entertainment and Entertainment One on this historic project and to bring the acclaimed Book of Negroes to life for the BET audience,” said Loretha Jones, President of Original Programming, BET Networks.
The Book of Negroes is an official Canada-South Africa co-production, executive produced by Damon D’Oliveira (Poor Boy’s Game, Lie With Me) along with Clement Virgo from Conquering Lion Pictures. Other executive producers include Lance Samuels (Inescapable, Bang Bang Club), Daniel Iron (Cairo Time, Away From Her), Michael Levine (The Republic of Doyle), eOne’s Carrie Stein (Coco Chanel, Burn Up, Diamonds) and Bill Niven (Marion Bridge) of Idlewild Films serving as the Nova Scotia Co-Producer. eOne handles the worldwide rights to the mini-series in all media. The Book of Negroes will be produced in association with Canadian Broadcasting Company and Black Entertainment Television.