Widow Basquiat

A Memoir

He smells of leather, oil paint, tobacco, marijuana and the faint metallic smell of cocaine. He wears handmade wool sweaters and long Mexican ponchos. He never walks in a straight line. He zigzags wherever he is going
Widow Basquiat by Jennifer Clement (Paperback ISBN 9781782114246) book cover

Available as Paperback, eBook, Downloadable audio

A tender and moving account of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s life as seen through the eyes of his muse, by award-winning author and PEN International President Jennifer Clement

MADONNA. ANDY WARHOL. KEITH HARING. FAB 5 FREDDIE. DEBBIE HARRY. JULIAN SCHNABEL.

Jean-Michel Basquiat’s transition from the subways to the chic gallery spaces of Manhattan brought the artist into the company of many of New York’s established and aspiring stars. In 1988, unable to deal with the demands that his new fame brought, Basquiat, the most successful black visual artist in history, died from a heroin overdose at age twenty-seven.

Widow Basquiat
is an exploration of the artist as seen through the eyes of his muse, Suzanne. It is a love story like no other.


“A love story for the ages, Widow Basquiat is an unorthodox dissection of one of modern history’s greatest artists, Jean-Michel Basquiat, as recounted by his muse, Suzanne Mallouk. Bound to tug at your heartstrings, this book paints a vivid portrait of the trials and tribulations of an artist like no other”
Dua Lipa

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“Engrossing … Clement offers far more clues to the cryptic symbols which litter his paintings than any art critic could”
the Times

“A compelling book that leaves a giant sized lump in the throat … A vivid portrait of Basquiat, powerfully evoking his inventiveness as an artist”
independent On Sunday

“Engrossing”
the Times

“The kind of book that makes you want to take the next flight to New York”
big Issue


Jennifer Clement is the author of multiple books, including The Promised Party and Gun Love, which was a finalist for the National Book Award. Her books have been translated into more than forty languages around the world. Clement is also the recipient of many awards including the Sara Curry Humanitarian Award, the Gran Prix des Lectrices Lyceenes de ELLE in France, a Guggenheim Fellowship, an NEA Fellowship and her books have twice been a New York Times Editor’s Choice Book. As of 2022, she completed her six-year term as the President of PEN International and the first woman to be elected since the organisation was founded in 1921.


How Jean-Michel Basquiat met his muse. A short extract from the audiobook of Widow Basquiat by Jennifer Clement, narrated by Noma Dumezweni.