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


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. Unable to deal with the demands that his new fame brought, in 1988, at the age of twenty-seven Basquiat, the most successful black visual artist in history, died from a heroin overdose.

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.

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

See more reviews

“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

the Times

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

Widow Basquiat is truly unique and continues to resonate long after you’ve closed the final page”
straight No Chaser

Jennifer Clement is the President of PEN International and the first woman to be elected since the organisation was founded in 1921. She is the author of three novels: Prayers for the Stolen, A True Story Based on Lies and The Poison That Fascinates. Prayers for the Stolen was a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice, a PEN/Faulkner Award finalist, winner of the Grand Prix des Lectrices de ELLE 2015, an NEA Fellowship and the Sara Curry Humanitarian Award. The novel appeared internationally on many ‘Best Books of the Year’ lists, including the Irish Times.

She has also published four books of poetry including The Next Stranger (with an introduction by W.S. Merwin). Clement’s books have been translated into 30 languages and she was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for her new novel Gun Love, which is forthcoming in March 2018.

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