Tomi Adeyemi (born August 1, 1993) is a Nigerian-American writer and creative writing coach.[1] She is best known for her novel Children of Blood and Bone, the first in the Legacy of Orïsha trilogy published by Henry Holt Books for Young Readers,[2] which won the 2018 Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy,[3] the 2019 Waterstones Book Prize, and the 2019 Hugo Lodestar Award for Best Young Adult Book.[4] In 2019, she was named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list. In 2020, she was named to the TIME 100 Most Influential People of 2020 in the "Pioneers" category.[5]

Tomi Adeyemi
Adeyemi in 2022
Adeyemi in 2022
Born (1993-08-01) August 1, 1993 (age 30)
OccupationWriter, Creative Director
Alma materHarvard University
Notable works
Notable awards

Early life edit

Tomi Adeyemi was born on August 1, 1993[6][7] in the United States to parents who emigrated from Nigeria. Her father was a physician in Nigeria but found employment as a taxi driver while he waited to transfer his qualifications. Adeyemi's mother worked as a cleaning woman. Adeyemi grew up in Chicago and was not exposed to her Nigerian heritage; her parents decided not to teach her or her siblings their native tongue. She would later embrace her heritage as an adult, explaining, "I didn't think too much of it and I think that is the kind of an experience of the first generation. You're just trying to fit in. You don't realize how cool your culture is until you get out of that phase of trying to fit in." She would later describe one of her novels as a love letter to her culture.[7] She is ethnic Yoruba.[8]

Adeyemi wrote her first story when she was five years old, and continued to write throughout her teenage years. She graduated from Hinsdale Central High School in Hinsdale, Illinois in 2011.[9] Adeyemi was qualified into the Hinsdale Central High School Foundation's Young Scholar Program in 2008 and went on to win their "Young Scholars" scholarship in 2010–2011.[10] During her senior year, Adeyemi also received the Rani Sharma scholarship.[11] She went on to graduate from Harvard University with an honors degree in English Literature,[12] then studied West African mythology and culture in Salvador, Brazil, on a fellowship.[1] It was this experience that inspired her to write Children of Blood and Bone, the breakthrough novel that would launch her career.[citation needed]

Career edit

Adeyemi, top left, with other fantasy authors at a panel discussion at the 2017 New York Comic Con

After Tomi Adeyemi moved to California, she worked at a Los Angeles film production company. When she decided to reduce her hours there to write a book, her parents, who had uprooted their lives in Nigeria to give her a better life, were not entirely accepting of this idea. Adeyemi says, "I'm first-generation Nigerian so I came out of my mother's womb and I was supposed to be a doctor, a lawyer or engineer, and I was like 'oh hey, I'm quitting my very well-paying job at a very stable company that has many future job opportunities for me' ... I'm so lucky that my parents were like, 'obviously we're not crazy about this but we love you'."[7]

Adeyemi's first written novel did not yield positive feedback. She instead set herself a year to write another book that became Children of Blood and Bone, and she entered it into Pitch Wars, a competition program in which emerging writers are matched with editors and authors to revise their work before they submit it to a literary agent.[7]

Legacy of Orïsha trilogy edit

Adeyemi's debut novel, Children of Blood and Bone, was released in March 2018, and debuted at number 1 on The New York Times Young Adult Hardcover Bestseller List.[13] It is a young-adult (YA) fantasy novel,[14] featuring protagonist Zélie Adebola, who fights a monarchy to return magic to her people. Adeyemi has said she wanted to write a fantasy novel set in West Africa so that "a little Black girl [could] pick up my book one day and see herself as the star...I want her to know that she’s beautiful and she matters and she can have a crazy, magical adventure even if an ignorant part of the world tells her she can never be Hermione Granger."[15] Children of Blood and Bone was awarded the 2018 Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy and is a finalist for the 2019 Lodestar Award for Best Young Adult Book.

In late March 2017, Fox 2000 Pictures purchased the film adaptation rights to the book.[14] Reportedly the deals for the publishing and film rights were approximately seven figures.[16][17] Deadline described it as "one of the biggest YA debut novel publishing deals ever."[14]

In November 2018, Adeyemi accused Nora Roberts of plagiarizing the title of her novel, Of Blood and Bone from Children of Blood and Bone.[18] Adeyemi later retracted the accusation saying "after talking to her, I believe our titles were created in isolation".[19] Roberts later clarified that her book had been titled and submitted to her publisher one year before Adeyemi's. She also criticised Adeyemi's lack of fact checking and the fact that Adeyemi had not deleted the accusation a day later.[20][21][22]

For reasons unclear, her second novel, Children of Virtue and Vengeance was pushed back from its initial release date of March 2019 to June 2019. Adeyemi later stated on her Instagram that her publisher offered her two choices: June 2019 and December 2019, but she chose the former so fans would not have to wait. The workload was too much and the author, editor, and publisher agreed to give the second book more time. Children of Virtue and Vengeance became a #1 New York Times Bestseller in December 2019.[citation needed]

In December 2020, Fox's new parent company Disney announced that its two subsidiaries Lucasfilm and 20th Century Studios would be adapting Children of Blood and Bone into a movie.[23][24] By 2021, Adeyemi had become frustrated with the pace of Lucasfilm's film adaptation process. She asked to serve as scriptwriter, a request that Lucasfilm had declined. Since Lucasfilm had wanted to focus on its own intellectual properties Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and Willow, the company and 20th Century Studios had allowed its film rights to Children of Blood and Bone to lapse in late 2021.[25] In mid–January 2022, Paramount Pictures acquired the rights for a guaranteed exclusive theatrical release, with Temple Hill Entertainment producing alongside Sunswept Entertainment. As part of the agreement, Adeyemi will write the script and also serve as executive producer.[26] In mid–December 2023, it was announced that Gina Prince-Bythewood would direct the Paramount Pictures adaptation with Wyck Godfrey, Marty Bowen, Karen Rosenfelt, and Matt Jackson as executive producers.[27]

Other activities edit

While working on her debut novel Children of Blood and Bone, Adeyemi worked as a creative writing coach.[9] In addition to her success as a novelist, Adeyemi teaches creative writing through her online course, The Writer's Roadmap. Her website has been named one of the 101 best websites for writers by Writer’s Digest.[28]

Adeyemi made a guest appearance in the final episode of Hermione Granger and the Quarter Life Crisis.[29]

Patrick Harpin and Everett Downing, Jr., creators of My Dad the Bounty Hunter, hired Adeyemi to work on the animated all-ages series, which had a majority-Black writers room.[30]

Personal life edit

Tomi Adeyemi lives in New York City, New York.[14] She is of Yoruba heritage.[31][32] She has two siblings. Her mother manages hospices just outside Chicago, her father is a doctor, and her brother is a musician.[33]

Works edit

Legacy of Orïsha trilogy edit

Companion books

  • Awaken the Magic (journal) (April 7, 2020)

References edit

  1. ^ a b Durosomo, Damola (March 29, 2017). "This 23-Year-Old Nigerian Author's Afrofuturist Novel Has Been Picked Up By Fox Studios". OkayAfrica. Retrieved April 16, 2017.
  2. ^ Nsubuga, Jimmy (April 15, 2017). "Writer lands seven figure deal for Black Lives Matter-inspired fantasy novel". Metro. Retrieved April 16, 2017.
  3. ^ "2018 Nebula Awards". The Nebula Awards. Retrieved May 19, 2019.
  4. ^ "2019 Hugo Award & 1944 Retro Hugo Award Finalists". The Hugo Awards. April 2, 2019. Retrieved May 19, 2019.
  5. ^ "Tomi Adeyemi: The 100 Most Influential People of 2020". Time. September 23, 2020. Retrieved June 25, 2021.
  6. ^ Adeyemi, Tomi (August 1, 2018). "thank you all for making this the best birthday yet..." Twitter. Retrieved August 1, 2018.
  7. ^ a b c d Kembrey, Melanie (March 9, 2018). "Interview: Tomi Adeyemi and her fantasy novel inspired by Black Lives Matter", The Sydney Morning Herald.
  8. ^ "A conversation with Tomi Adeyemi — Assembly | Malala Fund". Assembly. December 6, 2018. Retrieved February 13, 2024.
  9. ^ a b Wols, Lauren; Eck, Everett; Anderson, Hannah (March 21, 2018). "New author Tomi Adeyemi visits her alma mater". Hinsdale Central High School (Hinsdale, Illinois).
  10. ^ "Hinsdale Central High School Foundation - Young Scholars 2008". Retrieved July 13, 2019.
  11. ^ "Senior Scholarship Program". PowerShow. Retrieved July 13, 2019.
  12. ^ "Tomi Adeyemi". Goodreads. Retrieved August 5, 2017.
  13. ^ "Young Adult Hardcover Books - Best Sellers". The New York Times. March 25, 2018. Retrieved April 6, 2018.
  14. ^ a b c d Fleming, Mike Jr. (March 29, 2017). "Fox 2000, Macmillan Land African Flavored Fantasy Novel 'Children Of Blood And Bone' In Splashy Deal". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 16, 2017.
  15. ^ "Tomi Adeyemi's unpublished novel and fantasy movies". BusinessDay. April 1, 2017. Archived from the original on August 5, 2017. Retrieved June 20, 2017.
  16. ^ Danielle, Britni (March 30, 2017). "Tomi Adeyemi's Debut Novel Heading to the Big Screen in Blockbuster Deal". Ebony. Retrieved April 16, 2017.
  17. ^ Rosen, Judith; Roback, Diane; Sellers, John A.; Nawotka, Ed (April 14, 2017). "A Big Week for Children's Book Publishing". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved April 16, 2017.
  18. ^ Adeyemi, Tomi (November 29, 2018). "Twitter Profile". Twitter. Archived from the original on November 29, 2018.
  19. ^ Adeyemi, Tomi (November 29, 2018). "Twitter Profile". Twitter. Archived from the original on November 29, 2018.
  20. ^ Roberts, Nora (November 29, 2018). "Mob Rule By Social Media". Fall Into The Story. Archived from the original on November 29, 2018.
  21. ^ Jordan, Tina (December 14, 2018). "Seeing Double on the Shelves". The New York Times.
  22. ^ Kramer Bussel, Rachel (December 1, 2018). "Romance Author Nora Roberts RespondsTo Tomi Adeyemi Accusation: 'You Can't Copyright A Title'".
  23. ^ Templeton, Molly (December 14, 2020). "Lucasfilm Is Developing Tomi Adeyemi's Children of Blood and Bone". Retrieved January 20, 2021.
  24. ^ "Tomi Adeyemi's New York Times bestselling novel Children of Blood & Bone..." Twitter. @Disney. Retrieved January 20, 2021.
  25. ^ Kit, Borys (January 21, 2022). "Lucasfilm Rethinks Its Non-'Star Wars' Slate". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on January 24, 2022. Retrieved January 26, 2022.
  26. ^ Kroll, Justin (January 12, 2022). "Paramount Pictures Lands Rights To Tomi Adeyemi Best-Selling YA Book Series 'Children Of Blood And Bone'". Deadline. Archived from the original on January 23, 2022. Retrieved January 12, 2022.
  27. ^ Kroll, Jason (December 14 2023). Gina Prince-Bythewood to direct adaptation of Tomi Adeyemi’s “children of blood and bone” for Paramount Pictures. Deadline.
  28. ^ Lipp, Cassandra (July 29, 2020). "Writer's Digest Best Writing Advice Websites 2020". Writer's Digest. Retrieved January 21, 2021.
  29. ^ Sunshine Moxie (November 15, 2018), Hermione Granger and the Quarter Life Crisis - Episode 207 - "AIW", retrieved November 25, 2018
  30. ^ Jordan, Megan (February 14, 2023). "Netflix's 'My Dad the Bounty Hunter' Is an Afrofuturist Marvel". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on February 16, 2023. Retrieved February 16, 2023.
  31. ^ "Why my Parents didn't Teach My Siblings & I Yoruba – Tomi Adeyemi". BellaNaija. August 22, 2018. Retrieved January 26, 2020.
  32. ^ Adenike Adebajo (January 24, 2020). "Tomi Adeyemi on channelling her Naija ancestors, fantasy and faith". Retrieved January 26, 2020.
  33. ^ Hughes, Sarah (March 10, 2018). "Tomi Adeyemi: 'We need a black girl fantasy book every month'". the Guardian. Retrieved January 10, 2022.

External links edit