Who Fears Death TV Show: George R.R. Martin to Develop Nnedi Okorafor’s Fantasy Novel

The TV show will be based on the award-winning fantasy novel by Nnedi Okorafor.

Some amazing news from HBO, George R.R. Martin, and Nigerian-American novelist Nnedi Okorafor.

Who Fears Death, Okorafor’s 2010 fantasy novel about a young woman Onyesonwu with magical powers who goes on a quest to defeat her sorcerous father, is being developed as an HBO TV series by Martin. Here’s Okorafor’s Facebook announcement…


According to Variety, the deal is not yet officially closed, but Okorafor seems to think it is going to happen, which is exciting news. The novel was initially optioned for feature film development back in 2010.

Sure, some may lament the time this will take Martin away from finishing his A Song of Ice and Fire book series, but it’s hard not to celebrate the deal as an example of a white male author and producer with extreme privilege using his pull to bring the kind of story to the popular screen that hardly ever gets seen.

Thankfully, it sounds like Okorafor will be involved in the development of her novel into TV series form. Further down on the Facebook post’s thread, she said:

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i am very involved. i also know george well (we met in 2014 and stayed in touch); he’s been a sort of mentor to me through all this. and all those involved know what this story is; onyesonwu is in good good hands.

Who Fears Death not only has a black woman as a protagonist, but it is set in post-apocalyptic Sudan sometime in the future. It engages with issues of race, sexual violence, and female genital mutilation. And it does that all while in general being a wonderfully-crafted fantasy tale. The novel won the 2011 World Fantasy Award for Best Novel, as well as the 2010 Carl Brandon Kindred Award. It was also nominated for the Nebula for Best Novel and the Locus Award for Best Novel.

More news as we hear it.