“A major event in the history of television” (RogerEbert.com)’; “The Underground Railroad weaves an epic vision… it is not a history lesson, it is a mirror” (NY Times)”; “Barry Jenkins’ series is a towering masterpiece” (IndieWire) – Oscar-winner Barry Jenkins’ (Moonlight, If Beale Street Could Talk) series for Amazon Studios has become one of the most critically acclaimed shows of recent years.
Based on Colson Whitehead’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel of 2016, the Emmy-nominated series tells the story of Cora, an enslaved woman who escapes her hellish Georgia plantation and discovers the underground railroad. In history we know the Underground Railroad as a clandestine whisper network focused on spiriting the enslaved to freedom, but here it has been reimagined as an actual railway system with steam locomotives and stations. Over the course of 10 astonishing episodes, the show’s harrowing portrayal of 19th century Black oppression strips bare America’s terrible past.
With a brief from Amazon Studios to make an FYC publication that honours the significance and artistry of the show, we went about creating the most ambitious print project we’ve ever undertaken. A stellar cast of writers were invited to choose a single frame from each of the show’s episodes and write a powerful personal response. With design and production we expanded the possibilities of print to surprise and excite the reader, including special paper engineering, light-sensitive inks, facsimiles of printed props (including fold-out maps and notebooks) and even the original fabric taken from a dress worn by Cora in a key episode. With its outstanding editorial content and uniquely ambitious design execution, this is an awards book like no other.
Watch the video below to see Barry Jenkins’ response to the book as featured on his Twitter feed.
A gorgeous ‘for your consideration’ book. A Wu-Tang 36 Chambers’ - like stacked roster of writers contributing original essays for each chapter of the show. Astounding work.