The highly controversial novel, “The Book of Negroes,” a book written by Lawrence Hill (pictured), was just green-lighted to be adapted into a miniseries that will be produced by BET in the U.S. and the CBC in Canada, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The novel, which was published in 2007, traces the gripping tale of 11-year-old Aminita Diallo, who was abducted from Africa and sent to slavery in North Carolina before arriving in Nova Scotia, in Northeast Canada. The novel’s contentious name is the actual title of a British naval ledger of 3,000 freed “Black Loyalist slaves” requesting permission to enter Nova Scotia in 1783.
Production for the made-for-TV movie will begin this fall in South Africa. Hill, who is bi-racial, will receive a co-writer credit.
The book’s title was changed to “Someone Know My Name” in America because Hill’s publisher felt that “Negroes” would not fly–or, more specifically, be allowed to fly–in American bookstores. The book’s original title was allowed to remain as is in Canada because, according to Hill, the word “Negro” resonates differently in Canada.
Hill told the Guardian, “If you use it [Negroes] in Toronto or Montreal, you are probably just indicating publicly that you are out of touch with how people speak these days. But if you use it in Brooklyn or Boston, you are asking to have your nose broken. When I began touring with the novel in some of the major US cities, literary African-Americans kept approaching me and telling me it was a good thing indeed that the title had changed, because they would never have touched the book with its Canadian title.”
The book, which was an “O Magazine” top summer selection in 2010, has certainly raised the ire of many for its title.
Two years ago, the Dutch group “Federation for Honour and Reparation of Slavery in Surinam” burned the book’s cover–not the book as a whole–because they deemed it offensive. In Dutch, the title is translated to Het Negerboek.