In corporate America, being the only Black person in the room is still pretty much the norm. In those too rare occasions when a second Black person appears on the scene, there’s usually some surprise, an immediate connection of solidarity, and sometimes a weird territorial animosity.
It’s an experience Black people know all too well and one that’s landed new author Zakiya Dalila Harris an astounding seven-figure book deal.
Being marketed as Jordan Peele’s Get Out meets corporate America, The Other Black Girl is both a satire and psychological thriller that places a spotlight on the microaggressions, racism, and other struggles Black people face in overwhelmingly white workspaces. The novel, available next year, follows Nella, a 26-year-old Black publishing assistant who becomes unhinged after the arrival of another young Black colleague.
Harris, a former assistant editor at Knopf, quit her job last year to pen the novel after being inspired by her own personal encounter with another Black colleague in the restroom at Penguin Random House. Her completed novel, which only landed on the market in late January, sparked a 14-bidder auction before being sold to Atria Books, an imprint of Simon and Schuster, in a seven-figure deal. Foreign rights were sold to Bloomsbury for six figures in the UK.
The Other Black Girl’s seven figure deal comes on the heels of the American Dirt controversy which ignited online conversations about gatekeeping within the publishing industry and why stories written by and featuring POC are largely excluded from receiving such large contracts. Harris joins author Tomi Adeyemi whose best-selling epic Nigerian young adult fantasy series Children of Blood and Bone landed her a seven-figure book and movie deal in 2018. The upcoming movie, which was originally picked up by Fox 2000, is now being produced by Disney with Kay Oyegun (This Is Us) as screenwriter and Rick Famuyiwa (The Mandalorian) directing.
There’s no word yet on whether film and TV rights for The Other Black Girl have been picked up but with early comparisons being made to Peele’s highly successful film Get Out we can’t imagine Hollywood overlooking this obvious bag.
Update: Hulu has picked up the film and TV rights and will be adapting The Other Black Girl. Zakiya Dalila Harris will serve as writer and executive producer alongside Tara Duncan who recently became President of Freeform.
What's Your Reaction?
Editor in Chief, Often found reading a book, writing down story ideas, or in the comments section telling folks to "read the actual article".