Ava DuVernay

We give you the second edition of our “five novels that need to be made into movies.” This time we give you the directors we feel will do them justice when they make it to the big screen.

Orchard of Lost Souls, Nadifa Mohamed

Orchard of Lost Souls is the second book from Somalia-born, UK-based Nadifa Mohamed following her successful debut Black Mamba Boy. Her newest offering The Fortune Men is due late this year. It is set in a Somalia that we rarely hear about these days; that period when the country was slowly getting into the mess it currently is in. The book has three main characters, women at different times in their lives. The book which we loved would go a long way to showing a country and how it becomes what it is now.

Ava DuVernay
Ava DuVernay

Suggested director: Ava DuVernay is the US director of many movies including Selma (2014), When They See Us (2016), and A Wrinkle In Time (2018). It would be great to see how this director portrays a nation that is falling apart at the seams with its female protagonists.

Transparent City, Ondjaki

Transparent City is a book by multiple award-winning Angolan novelist Ondjaki who writes primarily in Portuguese. He has written numerous titles for children, young adults, and adults which have been translated into English, Swedish, Italian, and many other languages.

Transparent City is written as a series of vignettes into the life of the many people who inhabit the Maianga building (a residential building in the Maiainga district of Luanda) in which the protagonist lives, providing perspectives from across age and experience as to the current state of a degraded and modern Luanda.

Renata Martins
Renata Martins

Suggested director:  Renata Martins is the Brazilian director behind movies like Sem Asas (2019), Mc Soffia (2015), Catarina Delfino (2016), Dediane Souza (2015), and Quilombo Das Brotas (2017). It helps that the original title is in Portuguese and she would probably do justice to this text.

The Blessed Girl, Angela Makholwa

The Blessed Girl (2017) is the fourth novel from the Johannesburg-based South African author following Red Ink (2007), The 30th Candle (2010), and The Black Widow Society (2013). Critical But Stable (2020) is her most recent novel.

In The Blessed Girl, we meet Bontle living off sugar daddies who are called “blessers” in South Africa. The social commentary of the Instagram girls that we follow and the glamorous, and the less glamourous, aspects of their lives would translate very well on screen.

Thabang Moleya
Thabang Moleya

Suggested director: Thabang Moleya is a director and producer, known for The Herd (2018), Professionals (2020) and Happiness Is a Four-letter Word (2016). He just needs to watch this interview and he has sorted out the framing for that character.

Tram 83, Fiston Mwaza Mujila

Tram 83 is the debut novel of DR Congo-born Austria-based Fiston Mwanza Mujila. The poet turned novelist writes this novel in French which is the primary language of his art. It is available in English translation. Set in a bar in an unnamed Congolese mining town, Tram 83 follows poet Lucien and his escapades with a cast of writers, drunkards, drug dealers, and dreamers.

Judy Kibinge
Judy Kibinge

Suggested director: Judy Kibinge is an award-winning Kenyan filmmaker, writer and producer whose movies include Dangerous Affair (2002), Project Daddy (2004), Killer Necklace (2009), and Something Necessary (2013). With her combination of documentary and feature film, we can see the region that produces so much wealth humanised.

Silver Sparrow, Tayari Jones

Silver Sparrow is the third novel by US American Tayari Jones. Some of her other novels have been Leaving Atlanta (2002), The Untelling (2005), and An American Marriage (2018).

Set in a middle-class neighborhood in Atlanta in the 1980s, Silver Sparrow revolves around James Witherspoon’s two families—the public one and the secret one.

Akin Omotoso
Akin Omotoso

Suggested director:  Nigerian-born South Africa-based Akin Omotoso has an impressive list of movie titles to his name including Tell Me Sweet Something (2015), and Vaya (2016). With his experience as both actor and director in a variety of spaces, he would be a good bet with doing a film on polygamy in the United States.