Why You NEED to Tune into CBC’s The Book of Negroes Tonight!


CBC was so kind to send me an early viewing/reading package of the Lawrence Hill six-part mini series of The Book of Negroes. Weirdly enough, I’d never read the stunning book that was a #1 National Bestseller after being published in 2007, so I was beyond thrilled to find it waiting for me when I got home from work one day. Here is a synopsis of The Book of Negroesor Someone Knows My Name, as it’s published in USA, Australia and New Zealand.

Abducted as an 11-year-old child from her village in West Africa and forced to walk for months to the sea in a coffle—a string of slaves—Aminata Diallo is sent to live as a slave in South Carolina. But years later, she forges her way to freedom, serving the British in the Revolutionary War and registering her name in the historic “Book of Negroes.”

A sweeping story that transports the reader from a tribal African village to a plantation in the southern United States, from the teeming Halifax docks to the manor houses of London, The Book of Negroes introduces one of the strongest female characters in recent Canadian fiction, one who cuts a swath through a world hostile to her colour and her sex.

the-book-of-negroesThe book itself won an abundance of awards, including, the Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for best overall book, it was long listed for the Giller Prize in 2007 and the 2009 edition of CBC’s Canada Reads.

On New Years Day, I made a pot of coffee, found a comfy blanket and nestled in on my sofa to watch an episode of The Book of Negroes and then I watched another. And another. I could not stop watching! Now as I’m typing this, you’re not going to have the luxury of getting to binge watch the series in one sitting and because of the brutality of the subject, you might want the weekly break. BUT if you decide to tune into CBC tonight at 9pmET, you’re going to get hooked, just as I did and you’ll need to know what happens by tuning in over and over throughout the month of January and February.

Aminata Diallo is played by Aunjanue Ellis, who delivers a flawless and powerful performance. As I noted, the subject matter is a heavy topic and the Director Clement Virgo does a brilliant job at conveying the story with importance and conviction. You’ll turn your head away at some of the brutality that occurs, knowing that sadly, the acts and difficult scenes you’re watching were once a reality. The six-part miniseries also features Allan Hawco, Jane Alexander, Cara Ricketts, Ben Chaplin and Cuba Gooding Jr.

Watch a preview of the show below and be sure to tune in tonight at 9pmET/9:30NT. When watching, be sure to share your reactions online by using the hashtag: #BookOfNegroes or follow their official Twitter account here: @bookofnegroes

8 thoughts on “Why You NEED to Tune into CBC’s The Book of Negroes Tonight!

  1. Lost in a Great Book says:

    This is one of the most powerful books I have ever read; I still have vivid images of certain passages that go through my head, and I remember weeping at various points. I can’t wait to see how this is portrayed; knowing that Lawrence Hill was deeply involved makes me all the more eager for it to begin. Thanks for the reminder.

    • Reeder Reads says:

      In my humble opinion, the television adaption is powerful and doesn’t shy away from those hard to read scenes. It’s powerful and I think it’s going to receive rave reviews!

  2. Steph says:

    I have a gorgeous illustrated version of this book, and I even sent a copy of the same to my sister in England…but I haven’t yet read it. I don’t know why. I’ve wanted to forever. I know I would be missing out on a fantastic piece of literature.

    One day, Mr. Hill was standing before a piece of art that brought him to tears. He wanted to do something just like that, to create something so beautiful and effective that it touched people in the way he was moved. Soon, he began to write. Several books later, he fulfilled his dream with The Book of Negroes.

    I can’t wait to watch the show.

    • Reeder Reads says:

      I didn’t know that about Lawrence Hill – thanks for sharing that information. You should definitely check out the book, but in the meantime, be sure to tune in tonight, it’s quite powerful!

  3. The Paperback Princess says:

    This will come as a shock, but I read The Book of Negroes years ago and LOVED it. It was one of the exceptions (although I actually love all of Lawrence Hill’s work – he is flawless) to my old CanLit rule. I’ve been curious about this mini-series. I think I will have to give it a go!

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