David Olusoga

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Born January 1970
Lagos, Nigeria
Occupation Historian, writer, broadcaster, filmmaker
Language English
Alma mater University of Liverpool
Notable works Black and British: A Forgotten History

David Adetayo Olusoga (born January 1970)[1] is a British Nigerian popular historian, writer, broadcaster and filmmaker. He has presented a number of historical documentaries on the BBC and contributed to The One Show and The Guardian.[2] His historical subjects have focused on military history, race and slavery.


David Olusoga was born in Lagos, Nigeria, to a Nigerian father and British mother.[3] As a young boy, Olusoga migrated to the UK with his mother and grew up in Newcastle, one of very few non-white people living on a council estate. By the time he was 14, the National Front had attacked his house on more than one occasion, requiring police protection for him and his family. They were eventually forced to leave as a result of the racism.[4][5] He later attended the University of Liverpool to study the history of slavery.[6]

Realising that black people were much less visible in the media and historically, including in the Ladybird Book of Roman Britain, Olusoga became a producer of history programmes after university, working from 2005 on programmes such as Namibia Genocide and the Second Reich, The Lost Pictures of Eugene Smith and Abraham Lincoln: Saint or Sinner?.[7]

Subsequently he became a television presenter, beginning in 2014 with The World's War: Forgotten Soldiers of Empire, about the Indian, African and Asian troops who fought in the First World War, followed by several other documentaries and appearances on BBC One television's The One Show. In 2015 it was announced that he would co-present Civilisations, a sequel to Kenneth Clark's 1969 television documentary series Civilisation, alongside the historians Mary Beard and Simon Schama.[4]

Also a writer, Olusoga is the author of the 2016 book Black and British: A Forgotten History, which was awarded both the Longman-History Today Trustees Award 2017 and the PEN Hessell-Tiltman Prize 2017. His other books include The World’s War, which won First World War Book of the Year in 2015, The Kaiser’s Holocaust: Germany’s Forgotten Genocide and the Colonial Roots of Nazism (2011) which he co-authored with Casper Erichsen, and Civilisations (2018). He was also a contributor to the Oxford Companion to Black British History, and has written for The Guardian, The Observer and BBC History Magazine.[8]


  • Civilisations (two of nine episodes, "First Contact" and "The Cult of Progress") (2018)
  • A House Through Time (2018)
  • Black and British: A Forgotten History (2016)
  • The One Show (various episodes)
  • Britain's Forgotten Slave Owners (2015)
  • Fighting for King and Empire: Britain's Caribbean Heroes (2015)
  • The World's War: Forgotten Soldiers of Empire (2014)


  • Civilisations: First Contact / The Cult of Progress (Profile Books, 2018); ISBN 978-1781259979
  • Black and British: A Forgotten History (Macmillan, 2016); ISBN 978-1447299745
  • The World's War (Head of Zeus, 2015); ISBN 978-1781858981
  • The Kaiser's Holocaust: Germany's Forgotten Genocide and the Colonial Roots of Nazism (Faber and Faber, 2011); ISBN 978-0571231423

Awards and honours


  1. ^ "David Adetayo OLUSOGA". Companies House. Retrieved 7 January 2018.
  2. ^ "David Olusoga". The Guardian.
  3. ^ David Olusoga's Biography at biogs.com.
  4. ^ a b Manzoor, Sarfraz (9 November 2016). "David Olusoga is the new face of BBC history – but as a boy he was driven out of his home by racists". Radio Times. Retrieved 16 December 2016.
  5. ^ White, Nadine (19 November 2016), "Fresh Approach To An Old Story", The Voice.
  6. ^ "David Olusoga, lecturer at Slavery Remembrance Day 2015". International Slavery Museum. Retrieved 16 December 2016.
  7. ^ David Olusoga on IMDb
  8. ^ "Profile: David Olusoga", London Review Bookshop.
  9. ^ "Honorary, David Olusoga tells graduates to "be lucky"". University of Liverpool. 20 July 2017. Retrieved 28 July 2017.
  10. ^ Robert Sharp (10 July 2017). "David Olusoga wins PEN Hessell-Tiltman Prize 2017 for Black and British". English PEN. Retrieved 10 November 2017.
  11. ^ "Longman-History Today Awards 2017: The Winners | History Today". www.historytoday.com. Retrieved 28 July 2017.
  12. ^ "Bafta TV Awards 2016: the full list of winners". The Telegraph. Retrieved 28 July 2017.
  13. ^ "The Paddy Power Political Book Awards". Paddy Power Political Book Awards. Archived from the original on 6 February 2016. Retrieved 28 July 2017.

External links

  • Arifa Akbar, "David Olusoga: ‘There’s a dark side to British history, and we saw a flash of it this summer’" (interview), The Guardian, 4 November 2016.
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