Books

Sterling K. Brown to star and executive produce TV adaptation of Esi Edugyan's Washington Black

Washington Black follows a young boy's escape from slavery in Barbados and his remarkable trip around the world.
Actor Sterling K. Brown's next project is starring in the TV adaptation of Washington Black. ( Amy Sussman/Getty Images, HarperCollins Canada)

Sterling K. Brown will star and executive produce the television adaptation of Washington Black, a globe-trotting historical adventure based on Canadian author Esi Edugyan's award-winning novel.

Hulu, the U.S. digital streaming service, gave Washington Black a straight to series order with Selwyn Seyfu Hinds adapting the book. It will air in Canada on Disney+.

Edugyan's third novel, Washington Black, tells the story of 11-year-old Washington "Wash" Black, a slave on a Barbados sugar plantation in the 19th century. When a man is killed, Wash has no choice but to escape his captors and ends up on an epic life-spanning adventure around the world. Over years of crossing icy tundra and documenting Atlantic shores, Wash grows into an artist, inventor and explorer.

The book won the Scotiabank Giller Prize, Canada's biggest literary award, in 2018.

"I feel like I'm in the best hands," said Edugyan of the adaptation in a recent interview with CBC Books. "I'm excited to see it come about."

Esi Edugyan is the winner of the 2018 Scotiabank Giller Prize for her novel Washington Black. (Vivian Rashotte/CBC)

Edugyan is delivering the 2021 Massey Lectures this fall. The talk is based on her nonfiction book Out of the Sun: On Race and Storytelling.

Brown is an actor known for his Emmy-winning roles in This Is Us and The People v. O.J. Simpson: An American Crime Story. He'll play Medwin Harris, the larger-than-life leader of the Black community in Halifax, where Wash puts down roots and discovers his talent for scientific illustration.

"Washington Black inspires me!" said Brown in a press release.

"This young man and the adventure he undertakes remind me of how the power of imagination and the creativity of artistry can transform the world in which we live. Selwyn Seyfu Hinds has taken the transcendent words of Esi Edugyan and created a spectacular universe that brings to fruition the power of possibility."

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