Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Book of Negroes to become a movie

Lawrence Hill's acclaimed bestseller The Book of Negroes [the novel won the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best Overall Book and the 2008 Writers' Trust Fiction Prize] is set to become a film. No word yet on the casting.

Toronto filmmakers Clement Virgo and Damon D'Oliveira announced today that they have acquired the film rights to the award-winning novel. "The scope and passion of Lawrence Hill's runaway bestseller makes it perfect material for an epic screen adaptation," producer D'Oliveira said in a statement. On the news that his book will be made into a film, Lawrence Hill [at left] said "I have great faith in Clement's and Damon's abilities to capture the heart and soul of Aminata's story and I wish them well in transforming her life from the page to the big screen."

The Book of Negroes story synopsis:

Abducted as an 11-year-old child from her village in West Africa and forced to walk for months to the sea in a coffle a string of slaves—Aminata Diallo is sent to live as a slave in South Carolina. But years later, she forges her way to freedom, serving the British in the Revolutionary War and registering her name in the historic Book of Negroes. A sweeping story that transports the reader from a tribal African village to a plantation in the southern United States, from the teeming Halifax docks to the manor houses of London, The Book of Negroes introduces one of the strongest female characters in recent Canadian fiction, one who cuts a swath through a world hostile to her colour and her sex.

The history behind the novel:

Lawrence Hill's novel is inspired by a fascinating but little known historical document called the Book of Negroes, copies of which can be found in the USA at the New York Public Library, the Rockefeller Library at Colonial Williamsburg (Virginia) and the U.S. National Archives in Washington D.C. In Canada, copies of the same historical document can be found in the Nova Scotia Public Archives and in the National Archives of Canada.

Visit Lawrence Hill's Official site