Sudhir Hazareesingh wins Wolfson History Prize 2021 

Thursday 10 June 2021
Sudhir Hazareesingh holding a copy of his book Black Spartacus

Many, many congratulations to Sudhir Hazareesingh (CUF Lecturer in Politics and Tutorial Fellow in Politics) on winning the Wolfson History Prize 2021 for Black Spartacus: The Epic Life of Toussaint Louverture (Allen Lane, 2020).

The £40,000 Wolfson History Prize, regarded as the UK’s most prestigious history prize, is awarded annually by the Wolfson Foundation to a work of historical non-fiction which combines excellence in research and writing with readability for a general audience. 

Black Spartacus is a biography of the man who spearheaded the slave revolution that led to Haiti’s independence. It ‘provides an intimate study of the life of a revolutionary leader whose experiences speak to many of the debates about history and heritage currently taking place,’ the prize’s organisers said. ‘Through a wealth of archival material, much of which has been left uncovered by previous biographers, Hazareesingh creates the portrait of a former slave who confronted some of the dominant forces of the age: slavery, settler colonialism, imperialism and racial hierarchy.’

Dr Hazareesingh said the book was built on the ‘accumulated wisdom’ of current and previous generations of historians of Haiti. ‘I would like to dedicate this award to the Haitian people, and to all the scholars who have helped give the Saint-Domingue revolution, this landmark event in the fight for emancipation and dignity, the prominence it deserves.’ 

The book was also shortlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction, 2020; shortlisted for the Elizabeth Longford Prize for Historical Biography, 2020; shortlisted for the James Tait Black Prize for Biography, 2021; shortlisted for the Slightly Foxed Best First Biography Prize, 2020; finalist for the Pen/Jacqueline Bogard Weld Award for Biography, 2020;shortlisted for the Prix Château de Versailles du Livre d’Histoire, 2021; and shortlisted for the Prix Jean d’Ormesson, 2021