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Netflix, Mo Abudu Partner For Adaptation Of Soyinka And Shoneyin’s Books

Lola Shoneyin, Mo Abudu and Wole Soyinka | Image: NetflixNaija

American streaming giant Netflix has partnered with film producer Mo Abudu to create film adaptations of Wole Soyinka and Lola Shoneyin’s books.

Netflix on Friday announced via its Nigerian Twitter page that it has partnered with Abudu to develop Shoneyin’s debut novel, “The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives,” into a series, and Soyinka’s play, “Death and the King’s Horseman,” will be adapted into a film.

“We’ve got MAJOR news for you today! Netflix has partnered with acclaimed producer @MoAbudu to bring you two of Nigeria’s most beloved literary classics to screens around the world!” NetflixNaija tweeted.

Netflix added that Abudu will “produce two new Nigerian Originals plus licensed films and a series”.

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CNN reports that Netflix’s lead for original series in Africa, Dorothy Ghettuba in a statement said:

“We’re thrilled about this first-of-its-kind partnership in Africa that will bring some of Nigeria — and Africa’s — most iconic storytelling to screen. We look forward to supporting Mo as she brings all these diverse Nigerian stories to the world.”

Mo Abudu said that the partnership is a testament to Netflix’s investment in African storytelling. Quoting Netflix’s, Abudu added on her Twitter page that, “EBONYLIFE today has made history as the first African and first Nigerian production company to sign a multiple deal with Netflix. #NetflixEbonyLifePartnership”

Wole Soyinka’s “Death and the King’s Horseman” is based on a real incident that took place in Nigeria during British colonial rule: the horseman of a Yoruba King was prevented from committing ritual suicide by the colonial authorities. In addition to the British intervention, Soyinka calls the horseman’s own conviction toward suicide into question, posing a problem that throws off the community’s balance.

Soyinka wrote the play in Cambridge, where he was a fellow at Churchill College during his political exile from Nigeria.

Lola Shoneyin’s “Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives” details the struggles of women as well as the practice of polygamy in Nigeria. The novel was listed for the 2011 Orange Prize. It won the 2011 PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Literary Award and two Association of Nigerian Authors Awards.

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