The award-winning novel "The Book of Negroes" from Canadian writer Lawerence Hill will be made into a miniseries by the Canadian network CBC in conjunction with BET. The move to adapt the novel into a miniseries, instead of a feature film as had previously been reported, was announced today in Banff, Alberta.
Canadian producer Conquering Lion Pictures initially optioned the film rights to the award-winning novel in 2009. After failing to get the project off the ground, Conquering Lion has teamed up with Out of Africa Entertainment to produce a miniseries to air on both CBC and BET, respectively.
'The Book of Negroes' follows a young girl named Aminata Diallo, taken from her village in West Africa during the 1700s. Aminata is forced into slavery in South Carolina before she manages to escape to Nova Scotia. The title refers to an actual object, The Book of Negroes, which was a hand-written list of Black passengers leaving New York on British ships in 1783; the book provided a name, age, physical description of each passenger, as well as their status: if they were owned or free.
Loretha Jones, President of Original Programming at BET, stated the following: "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."
Production is slated to begin in South Africa this fall, as a joint Canadian-American production. Clement Virgo is attached to direct the miniseries and will also be scripting the adaptation; novelist Lawerence Hill will receive a co-writer credit on the project.