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Book of Negroes to be adapted into TV miniseries

The author Lawrence Hill at the 2010 Book Lovers Ball at the Fairmount Royal York Hotel in Toronto on February 11, 2010.

Tom Sandler/The Globe and Mail

Canadian filmmaker Clement Virgo is developing a six-part adaptation of Lawrence Hill's bestselling novel The Book of Negroes for the CBC and Black Entertainment Television (BET).

It is an international co-production that will be identifiably Canadian.

The mini-series is written by Clement Virgo, who was born in Montego Bay, Jamaica and immigrated to Canada at age 11. It will be co-written by Hill, the award-winning author was born in Newmarket, Ont.

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Virgo, whose television and film credits include HBO's The Wire and Poor Boy's Game, will direct.

The Book of Negroes tells the life story of Aminata Diallo, an African woman who is kidnapped by slave traders in West Africa and subsequently enslaved in South Carolina. She navigates her way through the American Revolution in New York, the isolated refuge of Nova Scotia and the jungles of Sierra Leone, before ultimately securing her freedom in England at the dawn of the 19th century.

"Reminiscent of the classic TV series Roots, The Book Of Negroes depicts a universal narrative about love, loss, and human survival against a critical moment in history which affected the social fabric of the US, Canada and the UK," said Lance Samuels, an Executive Producer.

Production will begin shooting in South Africa in the fall and will air on CBC in Canada and BET in the US.

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