Scented Words: Exploring Fragrances in Literature

Scented Words

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Experience literature in a completely new way in an evening of words and smells

How can writers use and convey the evocative power of scent through language? Join experts in both literature and perfumery for an introduction into how smells enrich narrative and vice versa. 

From The Song of Songs to Joanne Harris's Chocolat, writers have used smells to expand the palette of their expression, to evoke a memory, signal an encounter, describe seduction or deepen their character description. 

In an evening of words and smells, literary translator and scent obsessive Marta Dziurosz gives a short talk on how scents are featured in literature from all around the world and what the usage of a scent description can unlock in a book. 

This is followed by perfumer and writer Pia Long speaking about the perfumer's process and the way they can use narrative to build their olfactory creations. 

Pia is then joined by two special guest perfumers, Tim Gage from CPL Aromas and Achille Riviello from Synarome, who present fragrances specially created for this event inspired by texts from the presentation and discuss their process of translating words into scent. 

Pia Long, Director, Olfiction Ltd
The twin passions of fragrance and writing have shaped Pia's life and career. She has worked as an in-house perfumer for a global cosmetic brand; a technical manager; training manager and a freelance writer. She is the co-owner and perfumer at Olfiction, a fragrance industry consultancy. Pia writes for Perfumer & Flavorist magazine and is a council member of the British Society of Perfumers.

Marta Dziurosz is a Polish <> English literary translator, curator, and Free Word Centre’s Translator in Residence 2015-2016. After writing an MA on the topic, she gave the keynote lecture on scent in literature at the 2017 conference of the British Society of Perfumers. Her writing and translations have been published by Words Without Borders, PEN Atlas, New Books from Poland, For Books’ Sake, Asymptote, and elsewhere.

Tim Gage, Perfumer, CPL Aromas
Tim started in the fragrance industry at Bush Boake Allen in 1984, initially as a perfumer’s laboratory technician, but quickly took on responsibilities in QC and then formulation management. Joining the regulatory team at CPL Aromas gave Tim more experience. His creations have won 4 British Society of Perfumers Awards for best home-care fragrances and the Cosmopolitan Beauty and Fragrance Awards best body moisturiser in 2013.
Achille Riviello, Director of Synarome Fragance and Flavour Business Unit, Nactis Flavours
Achille has a wealth of expertise ranging from technical aspects of the fragrance industry to sales, marketing and fragrance creation. He has a PhD in chemical engineering and has worked for leading companies in the field: Firmenich, Drom, Arylessence and PFW/​Keva. He has participated in a number of creative perfumery projects and events - creating scents inspired by unsual objects, and hosting engaging presentations about fragrance raw materials.


Name: Scented Words: Exploring Fragrances in Literature
Where: Knowledge Centre
The British Library
96 Euston Road
Show Map      How to get to the Library
When: -
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546