David Adetayo Olusoga is a British Nigerian historian, writer and broadcaster. He has presented a number of historical documentaries on the BBC and contributed to The One Show and The Guardian. His historical subjects have focused on military history, race and slavery.
Arriving in the UK as an immigrant from Nigeria as a young boy, Olusoga grew up in Newcastle, one of very few non-white people living on the 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. He later attended the University of Liverpool to study slavery.
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?.
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 The One Show. In 2017, he will co-present a new series of Kenneth Clark's 1969 programme Civilisations alongside historians Mary Beard and Simon Schama.
Olusoga is also the author of the book Black & 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, and The Kaiser’s Holocaust: Germany’s Forgotten Genocide and the Colonial Roots of Nazism, which he co-authored with Casper Erichsen. 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.
- 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)
- Black and British: A Forgotten History (2016) ISBN 978-1447299745
- The World's War (2015) ISBN 978-1781858981
- The Kaiser's Holocaust: Germany's Forgotten Genocide and the Colonial Roots of Nazism (2011) ISBN 978-0571231423
Awards and honours
- 2017 Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters, University of Liverpool
- 2017 PEN Hessell-Tiltman Prize for Black and British: A Forgotten History
- 2017 Longman-History Today Trustees Award
- 2016 Specialist Factual BAFTA, BAFTA TV Awards for Britain’s Forgotten Slave Owners
- 2015 Royal Historical Society Public History Prize for Broadcasting for Britain’s Forgotten Slave Owners (BBC History)
- 2015 World War One Book of the Year at the Paddy Power Political Book Awards for The World's War