Multidisciplinary artist Blitz Bazawule talks with writer and RSL Vice-President Irenosen Okojie about his debut novel, The Scent of Burnt Flowers. The book takes us on a journey from Alabama to Accra in the 1960s, via harrowing escapes and dangerous journeys into a coup d’état, woven together with music and magic.
Steeped in the history and mythology of postcolonial West Africa at the intersection of the civil rights movement in America, it is a gripping debut merging political intrigue, magical encounters, and forbidden romance in an epic collision of morality and power.
Bring all your openness and imagination as he shares his creative experience and how he channelled it into his debut novel.
Blitz Bazawule is a multidisciplinary artist whose creative brilliance covers an array of art forms. His film, The Burial of Kojo, premiered on Netflix, his paintings have been featured at The Whitney Biennial, and his direction on Beyoncé’s Black is King won him a Grammy nomination. His musical take on The Colour Purple is set to grace screens globally in December.
Irenosen Okojie is a Nigerian British writer. Appointed to the Royal Society of Literature as a Fellow in 2018, her short stories have been published in the US, Africa and the UK. Her debut novel, Butterfly Fish, was published in 2015, for which she was a recipient of a 2016 Betty Trask Award. Her short story collection, Speak Gigantular, was published in 2016. It was shortlisted for the 2016 inaugural Jhalak Prize and the 2017 Edge Hill Short Story Prize. A collection of short stories, Nudibranch, was published in 2019. It was longlisted for the Jhalak Prize 2020. The story ‘Grace Jones’ won the 2020 AKO Caine Prize for African Writing. In 2021 she was awarded an MBE For Services To Literature. A novel, Curandera, is forthcoming in 2022.
Produced in association with the Royal African Society as part of Africa Writes.