HBO have been busy again, this time the cable and satellite television network has optioned Nnedi Okorafor’s World Fantasy Award-winning novel Who Fears Death with a view to making a TV series with Game of Thrones author, George R. R. Martin on board as executive producer.
Making the announcement via Facebook, the author of the 2010 sci-fi fantasy novel, Nnedi Okorafor stated; “My World Fantasy Award-winning novel Who Fears Death has been optioned by HBO and is now in early development as a TV series with George R. R. Martin as executive producer. Note: This did not happen overnight. It’s been nearly four years coming,”
However, HBO has refused to comment with sources stating the deal isn’t officially done as yet.
The story focus centres on Onyesonwu, a woman living in post-apocalyptic Sudan where the dark-skinned Okeke people live as second class citizens oppressed and routinely murdered by the lighter-skinned Nuru. Onyesonwu’s mother was an Okeke woman who was raped by her Nuru father who, like Onyesonwu, possesses a variety of magical abilities.
Back in 2011, Okorafor’s novel received the award for best novel at the World Fantasy Awards and the Carl Brandon Kindred Award in 2010 for outstanding work of speculative fiction dealing with race and ethnicity.
The novel was inspired in part by Emily Wax’s 2004 Washington Post article “We Want to Make a Light Baby,” which discussed the use of weaponized rape by Arab militiamen against Black African women in the Darfur conflict. According to Wax: “The victims and others said the rapes seemed to be a systematic campaign to humiliate the women, their husbands and fathers, and to weaken tribal ethnic lines.” Okorafor stated that this article “created the passageway through which Onyesonwu slipped through my world.”