Maaza Mengiste‘s The Shadow King

Maaza Mengiste’s second novel The Shadow King is going to the big screen with Kasi Lemmons as director.

Maaza Mengiste is the author of the novels, Beneath The Lion’s Gaze (2010) and The Shadow King (2019). Her work can also be found in The New Yorker, New York Review of Books, Granta, the Guardian, the New York Times, Rolling Stone, and BBC, among other places.

The Shadow King, set during Mussolini’s 1935 invasion of Ethiopia, tells the story of the Ethiopian women soldiers who were left out of the historical record of World War II.

In the last few months, it emerged that the rights to The Shadow King had been acquired and there was a possibility of seeing it in theatres. It seems that the novel is closer to going to the big screen with Kasi Lemmons assigned as director. Lemmons will be remembered as the director of the movie Harriet about legendary slavery abolitionist Harriet Tubman. The production company running the project is Atlas Entertainment.

“Maaza Mengiste’s mesmerizing novel takes my breath away,” said Lemmons in a statement. “The imagery is so rich and powerful and the characters so vividly drawn, it naturally lends itself to adaptation. I’m very honoured to be a part of bringing this brilliant book to the screen and I’m thrilled to be working with everyone at Atlas.”

Maaza, who is a co-curator of the Afrolit Sans Frontieres Literary Festival, shared this news on her Twitter thus, “ANNOUNCEMENT!! I could not be more thrilled to have Kasi Lemmons as director on The Shadow King film. She is visionary and passionate about this story!”

With this development, you can be sure that we shall all be seeing our Ethiopian women soldiers fighting Mussolini on a screen near you.