Out Of Africa: Nigerian-Born Author Wins Children’s Non-Fiction Book Of The Year At The 2024 British Book Awards

Nigerian-born author Atinuke’s book Brilliant Black British History has clinched the prize for Children’s Non-Fiction Book of the Year at this year’s British Book Awards.

This was revealed at the award ceremony held on 13 May 2024 at Grosvenor House, London.

Illustrated by Kingsley Nebechi, the book saw off stiff competition from the likes of Sathnam Sanghera’s Stolen History, Leon Diop’s Black and Irish, Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara’s King Charles Volume 97 and Adam Kay’s Kay Incredible Inventions.

Celebrating her win, Atinuke stressed the importance of documentation and owning narratives:

“For hundreds of years, people, children, men, women, were sold in Britain on the equivalent of eBay, with the excuse being the colour of their skin, and we have stories of children in London being dragged by their hair through the streets when they tried to escape. Me standing here and winning this award for a Black history of Britain would’ve been beyond the wildest dreams of those enslaved people. One of the things that has made this possible is books. The autobiographies of Prince [Olaudah] Equiano and [Frederick] Douglass changed the minds of the British public about the institution of slavery. So, books are incredibly important, stories are incredibly important and we still don’t live in an equal and fair and safe society. But if we keep writing our books and keep telling our stories then maybe one day we will and all our wildest dreams will come true.”

Born in Ibadan and raised in Lagos, Atinuke is an author of children’s books and an oral storyteller of traditional African folktales. She is an award-winning author of over 20 children’s books based on her life in Nigeria and other African stories. Some of her books include Anna Hibiscus, Baby Goes to Market, Too Small Tola, Catch That Chicken and The No. 1 Car Spotter, among others. She lives in Wales

Brilliant Black British History is an eye-opening story of Britain, focusing on parts of British culture that have mostly been left out of history books. The incredible journey through time is brought to life through Atinuke’s fascinating storytelling and illustrated scenes, detailed maps, and timelines. Through her eyes, readers get to learn that the first Britons were Black and that some of the Roman soldiers who ruled Britain were Black, among other previously suppressed facts.

Covering a range of topics from science and sport to literature and law, Atinuke celebrates the brilliant Black people who have helped build Britain. Children can learn about key historical topics such as the world wars, slavery, the Industrial Revolution, Windrush, and the Black Lives Matter movement.

The British Book Awards, also known as “the Nibbies”, has been the book trade’s leading awards since 1990. These awards celebrate authors and illustrators, and showcase the industry behind the scenes that help bring the books to readers. Judged by leading industry experts, authors, journalists and celebrities, the Nibbies are regarded as “the BAFTAs of the book trade.’’

Click here to see the full list of winners.


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