Actor and producer Omar Epps (The Devil You Know, House, Juice, Shooter) will publish his debut novel, Nubian: The Awakening, with Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, it was announced today by Beverly Horowitz, Senior VP & Publisher. The book will be the first in a young adult series coauthored with Clarence Haynes about three teens, the children of refugees from a fallen African utopia, who develop powers they must use to navigate a climate-ravaged New York City. Horowitz and Krista Marino, VP & Senior Executive Editor, acquired world rights for the series from Todd Shuster and Erica Bauman at Aevitas Creative Management. Marino will edit the series. Nubia: The Awakening is scheduled to release on November 8, 2022.
Perfect for readers of dystopian series like Brandon Sanderson’s The Reckoners and Veronica Roth’s Divergent, as well as fans of African-inspired science fiction and fantasy like Black Panther, Children of Blood and Boneand The Gilded Ones, Nubia: The Awakening is at once a fast-paced, action-packed, and accessible escape and a thought-provoking conversation starter for topics such as climate change, socio-economic divides, refugee life, and displacement. Epps’s novel, which features a striking cover by celebrated Afrofuturist artist Adeyemi Adegbesan, adds two positive and dynamic Black male protagonists to the exciting and vital surge of epic fantasies centering Black characters.
In Nubia: The Awakening , Uzochi, Zuberi, and Lencho are the children of refugees from Nubia—the fallen island nation off the coast of West Africa. Since their arrival in New York City, Nubians have struggled to survive among the remnants of Manhattan, where climate change has ravaged the island with catastrophic flooding that only the rich residents of the Up High can avoid. Detested by the xenophobic Locals, Uzochi, Zuberi, and Lencho lead lives plagued by intense disparities and disrespect, but when they and other Nubian teens begin to develop complex supernatural powers, the three teens discover that their lineage is more dimensional than what their parents have explained to them previously. Nubians once possessed powerful kinetic gifts, and it looks like the new generation of Nubians have come into this legacy once again. But will they use their inheritance to lift their people or to leave them behind? The fate of their city, and their people, hangs in the balance.
“The idea for Nubia: The Awakening came to me over ten years ago,” says Epps. “It started with an idea based around the actuality of love. That evolved into a story about unity, and the beauty of a world where every person’s differences are not only unique but serve a purpose. I’m very proud of how it turned out and cannot wait to finally share it with the world.”
“As an editor who has published many sci-fi and fantasy series, I have never seen world-building like that in Nubia: The Awakening,” says Marino. “It’s a startling and vibrant world filled with hope, resistance, adventure, and strength, and the story touches on all of the topics we are discussing today—climate change, economic and racial inequality, xenophobia, gentrification and displacement, and the invasiveness of technology in our daily lives—as well as social issues surrounding fathers and sons, the struggles of single parents, and the challenges refugees face in new lands. I knew on my first reading that this book is something incredibly special, and I am proud to be publishing it.”