5 Nigerian Books We’re Itching to See on the Big Screen

December 9, 2021

Adapting a book and transferring it to the screen is no easy task. While Hollywood is known for churning out like 80 adaptations a year, Nigerian novels rarely get adapted, and even when they do, some of them make us wish the source material had been left alone. Following the success of Kunle Afolayan’s Swallow (and its many wigs) and HBO’s current adaptation of Chimamanda Adichie’s Americannah starring Lupita Nyong’o, we decided to list out some of the other adaptations we’re excited to see in the coming years. 

1. The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives – Lola Soneyin

While Lola Soneyin’s debut novel has already been adapted into a critically acclaimed play starring Bimbo Akintola and Uzor Asimkpa, in 2020, EbonyLife Studio’s Mo Abudu announced that she was adapting the award-winning book in a collaboration with Netflix. 

The book, which can be described as Fuji House of Commotion on steroids follows a polygamist, Baba Segi, and the chaos that unfolds when he decides to bring in a younger, more exposed woman into the family as his fourth wife. Although we don’t have a date yet, let’s just say we are super excited to see this one when it hits the screen. 

Freshwater – Akwaeke Emezi

A controversial story and a pretty interesting read, Akwaeke Emezi’s Freshwater is the autobiography of an Ogbanje. Yes, you read that right. Its lead character Ada begins to manifest different alter egos and down the line, shit blows up fast (read it for the full gist). An adaptation was announced back in 2019 by FX, the American channel known for another creepy show, American Horror Story. We’re still waiting to see it, so fingers crossed. 

Children of Blood and Bone – Tomi Adeyemi 

There was a time when almost everybody had a copy of this book either in their hands or somewhere in their house like a piece of decoration. While the author has been known to get into a little bit of drama here and there, we’re still gassed to see the adaptation of this award-winning book. The book follows its protagonist, Zellie as she fights to restore magic to the Orisha Kingdom. Currently in development at LucasFilms—the brains behind Star Wars, this is one book that seems to be in long development hell. Anyway, we’re willing to wait. 

Who Fears Death – Nnedi Okoroafor 

For a country that understands the intricacies of juju, it’s funny that we don’t have a lot of books that focus on magic. Chronicling the magical journey of its protagonist, Onyesonwu, Who Fears Death is one of Nnedi Okoroafor’s best works. The science fantasy novel is set to be adapted by HBO into a television series. Why are we itching to see this? Bruh, HBO gave us Game of Thrones, so we already know this adaptation is going to be fire. 

Death and the King’s Horseman – Wole Soyinka

Although Chimamanda Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun gave us a fictional glimpse into Nigeria’s political history, not a lot of Nigerian adaptations have touched on this. Based on a true story about the horseman of a Yoruba King who is prevented from committing ritual suicide by colonial authorities, this play has all the makings of a quality drama. Currently being shot by EbonyLife in collaboration with Netflix, this is one project we’re looking forward to, most especially because it’s one of the few being adapted by Nigerians.

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