Yvonne Orji Developing Yaa Gyasi’s Novel ‘Transcendent Kingdom’ For Sony Pictures Television

EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures Television has optioned the novel Transcendent Kingdom written by Yaa Gyasi to be developed by producer Yvonne Orji under her first-look deal.

The second novel by the Ghanaian-American author is told from the perspective of Gifty, a neuroscientist in training studying the behavior patterns in mice as it relates to depression and addiction. Bouncing back and forth between her present-day life in the Bay Area and her childhood as a first-generation Ghanaian growing up in rural Alabama, Gifty is on both a methodical and a spiritual journey to make sense of the suffering she’s seen all around her. But even as she turns to the hard sciences to unlock the mystery of her family’s loss, she still finds herself hungering for facets of her childhood faith and grappling with the evangelical church in which she was raised, whose promise of salvation remains as tantalizing as it is elusive.

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Orji is an Emmy-nominated, Nigerian-American comedian, actress, writer, producer and author who is best known for her performance as Issa Rae’s best friend ‘Molly’ on the HBO comedy series Insecure. For her performance, she earned an Emmy nomination for Best Supporting Actress in 2020. Last year, she signed a two-year, first-look deal with Sony Pictures Television. Under the deal, she will develop scripted drama and comedy series for streaming and cable.

Most recently, Orji starred in the horror-comedy film The Blackening, as well as Vacation Friends 2, the sequel to the 2021 Hulu comedy Vacation Friends. Previous credits include Malcolm D. Lee’s comedy, Night School and voice acting in the Netflix animated series My Dad the Bounty Hunter. She also served as a host and EP of the HBO Max reality series My Mom Your Dad and she released two HBO comedy specials: Momma, I Made It in 2020 and A Whole Me two years later.

She published her debut book, Bamboozled by Jesus: How God Tricked Me into the Life of My Dreams (2021) taking readers on a journey through 25 life lessons, gleaned from her own experiences and her favorite source of inspiration: the Bible. UTA and Odenkirk Provissiero Entertainment rep her.

Yaa Gyasi
Yaa Gyasi

Gyasi was born in Mampong, Ghana, and raised in Huntsville, Alabama. Her critically acclaimed debut novel, Homegoing (Knopf, 2016), received 2017’s American Book Award, the National Book Critics’ Circle’s John Leonard Award and PEN’s Hemingway Award for debut fiction. Her short stories have appeared in African American Review, Guernica, Callaloo, and Granta, which designated her a Best Young American Novelist in 2017. She received the 2018 Mary Ellen Von Der Heyden Fellowship in Fiction from the American Academy in Berlin. Gyasi is repped WME.

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