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Books Culture and Lifestyle

An African Wonder Woman? That would be interesting

Contrary to what you may have heard, we are not all holding our breath for the release of the next Game of Thrones Season. Jenifa’s diary and Jemeji are about fine for entertainment, ‘fun’ and intrigue.

But the news that George R.R. Martin, who wrote ‘A Song of Fire and Ice’ series that morphed into Game of Thrones, would be working on producing a TV series based on ‘Who Fears Death’ – the literary work of Nigerian-American author, Nnedi Okorafor – has generated some real excitement.

Nnedi wrote Who Fears Death, her first adult novel, in 2010. The self-described ‘naijamerican’ author thrives on fantasy, science fiction and speculative fiction. The 2010 book, which has been optioned by HBO (Home Box Office), is set in a post-apocalyptic Africa where a woman born from an inter-racial rape discovers that she has super powers. It is not quite ‘Wonder Woman’ but we can already imagine that there is going to be a pattern to the big movie of 2017.

In debunking a story by American news media, VICE, which appeared to make him the center of the work leaving out Nnedi as a side note, The Game of Thrones architect has said that “even in this Golden age of television drama, there’s nothing like WHO FEARS DEATH on the small screen at present” and that he’ll be thrilled to play a part in bringing it to life.

The forty-three year old author made the announcement in a tweet that showed her at the office of the cable network. On the wave of the announcement, she extended arms of welcome “to all you individuals who are late to what we call Afroculturism, African scifi or science fiction with black people and juju in it”.

There have been some projects on the African continent aimed at creating cinematic characters around traditional African ‘spirits’, through games and cartoons. Nnedi, a professor at the University of Illinois, has been long in the business of writing fiction that portrays brings these spirits to readable letters.

With the HBO project in early development, Onyesonwu, the lead character in ‘Who Fears Death’ may become the next character the likes of Gal Gadot will queue to audition for, only this time Gadot may have to learn some Igbo and instead of drawing swords, she may be throwing some seriously wicked jazz, like in Karashika.

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The ‘Binti’ Trilogy, by Nnedi Okorafor (via @Nnedi on Twitter)

Nnedi is also the author of a trilogy, Binti, on an African girl who leaves home, comes home and becomes home. The trilogy won the 2016 Nebula award, and the 2016 Hugo Award for Best Novella. One of her earlier novels, Zahrah the Windseeker (of course, an African fantasy) had won the Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa more than 10 years ago.

By Alexander O. Onukwue | Updated 14th July 2017

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