Young Author Secures Seven-Figure Deal with Fox 2000 for West African Fantasy Novel 

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Tomi Adeyemi teaches creative writing on her website.
(@tomi_adeyemi/Twitter)

A 23-year-old Nigerian-American novelist has struck gold with landmark publishing and film acquisition deals.

The movie rights for Tomi Adeyemi’s debut young adult West African fantasy novel “Children of Blood and Bone” was preemptively acquired by Fox 2000 and is in film development after Fox scored rights at or around the seven-figure range, according to Deadline. Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group also got a book deal reported to be one of the biggest young adult debut novel publishing deals in history.

The book, due for release in 2018, follows Zélie, an Orïshan girl who, as a 6-year-old, watched as guards hung her mother during a raid. Zélie never forgot what she saw and that day, the magic that Orïshan people were once blessed with was taken away. Orïshan, who have dark skin and white hair, became a minority overrun by the lighter-skinned royalty and pushed into oppression. Dark skin and magic were now both looked at with disdain, but Zélie comes into ownership of a sacred scroll that can revive the magic of the Orïshan. She teams up with Princess Amari and the two set out to end the violence committed on the Orïshan and recover their god-granted magic for the next century.

“We like epic stories, we like adventure, we like epic fights, so if you can mix a great story that can also really teach someone about a different experience, you have the potential to really help people,” Adeyemi told Teen Vogue of why she wrote the book, which has been described as Black Lives Matter fantasy. “For me, this is how I try to help the world. This is how I can protest and how I can say something. Often, problems like racism or police brutality feel so much bigger than one person and we ask how we can deal with these [issues]. If I write this and I can make people understand, then I feel like I’m doing my part to fight this and I feel like I can fight this.”

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