Olfiction have collaborated with The British Library to organise an event, where literary translator and fragrance enthusiast Marta Dziurosz will explain the symbiotic relationship between the worlds of literature and fragrance, and how our least scientifically explored sense – smell – is in fact woven throughout literary history as an emotional touchstone to inspire writers and inform the readers imagination.
The event is a talk on the use of scent in literature by translator Marta Dziurosz, including three literary texts specially translated into fragrances by three perfumers: Achille Riviello from Synarome, Pia Long from Olfiction and Tim Gage from CPL Aromas.
Have you ever read a book and become so immersed in the world the author has built, it’s almost as though you’ve been transported there? Perhaps you’ve better understood a character by the way the description has included their unique fragrance? Been able to picture a setting because the smells make it real? Evocative portrayals of smell are sprinkled throughout literature: used as metaphor, to enhance the mood or even (in one of our examples) as the unsettling precursor to a murder…
I’ve been exploring the various ways in which scent features in literature for years now. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to share some of my ideas as to how writers use the evocative powers of scent in their books – and at the British Library, no less! Now three wonderful perfumers have created actual fragrances inspired by literature; this feels like perhaps the most visceral way to experience words and a treat that is not to be missed.
In publishing, a literary idea must be shared and translated from the writer to the editor – so too in fragrance must an idea be expressed and interpreted from the client’s brief through the perfumer and evaluator. Discussing the significance of scent in literature, using examples from the Bible through to contemporary works, the audience will also have the opportunity hear from the perfumers’ who took on the creative challenge of making some of the texts come alive. We will smell their specially composed and completely unique translations: from page to perfume.
Approaching a project like this one is dramatically different from everyday brief work – it allows a truly holistic and experiential approach to creation. The idea was not only to take the description of the text, but also to add the surrounding elements. It is not so much a fragrance as it is an olfactory idea and experience.
The concept of my chosen quote jumped out at me and I couldn’t wait to begin expressing it through scent – it was such a lovely opportunity to be creative – and in the case of the text I chose, also a little mischievous.
I was presented with a text as inspiration for a new fragrance and initially it read like a simple recipe. I quickly realised that what appeared to be an apparently simple rose base for the fragrance was in fact very complex as it involved gourmand fragrance notes such as quail and chestnut that we don’t have in the perfumery palette. The creative process began…
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.
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 unusual objects, and hosting engaging presentations about fragrance raw materials.
Pia Long, Director, Olfiction
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.
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.
Date & Venue
Tue 27 Mar 2018, 19:00 – 20:30
The British Library
96 Euston Road
Full Price: £12.00
Under 18: £8.00
(Other concessions available)
Link to event page, for tickets and map: https://www.bl.uk/events/scented-words-exploring-fragrances-in-literature