Preparing for the end of Game of Thrones (*sob*) is no easy feat, but at least there's something to ease the blow. Nigerian-American author Nnedi Okorafor recently confirmed that her sci-fi novel, Who Fears Death, has been optioned by HBO and is currently in the early stages of development.
"I’m finally free to announce this: 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," Okorafor wrote on Facebook. "Note: This did not happen overnight. It's been nearly 4 years coming."
A professor of English at the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York, Okorafor has authored several books. Her key characters are usually young black African women who overcome present obstacles in order to shape their own destinies.
As noted by NPR, Who Fears Death is ideal for an HBO series because, much like Game of Thrones, it combines fantasy, magic, and suspense. Set in a post-apocalyptic Sudan plagued by civil war where the light-skinned Nuru tribe has enslaved the Okere tribe, its main character Onyesonwu was born after her Okere mother was raped.
Onyesonwu possesses magical powers that make her a threat to the Nuru tribe and especially her sorcerer father, Daib. But, despite the fantasy elements in Who Fears Death, it's also grounded in current African affairs. Armed conflict between tribes is a reality and Okorafor says she was inspired to write the book after reading a Washington Post article about the children born from sexual violence in Congo and Sudan during their civil wars.
If the TV adaptation indeed comes to fruition (fingers crossed!), Okarafor is confident that George R.R. Martin is the perfect person to serve as executive producer.
"I've known George for over three years now. Since BEFORE all this with. He's been a sort of mentor to me since the day I [met] him. We've had long phone conversations about writing, Hollywood, teaching, academia, juggling it all," she wrote on Facebook. "If I had questions, I could just call him up and ask and I have. We are well met. This isn't just a project throwing my book into George's hands just because. He-knows-me."