Tuesday Apr 30, 2024

S1 Ep 8 Irenosen Okojie on Pablo Fanque

Irenosen Okojie is the Nigerian-British author of Butterfly Fish and the short story collections, Speak Gigantular and Nudibranch. She co-presented the BBC's Turn Up for The Books podcast, she’s vice chair of the Royal Society of Literature and was a judge for the 2023 Women's Prize for Fiction.


The plaque she chose is on Lands Lane in Leeds and reads: "Pablo Fanque. Born William Darby, he was the first Black circus owner in Britain. He regularly performed in Leeds. On 18th March 1848, near to this location in King Charles’ Croft, his circus building collapsed causing the death of his wife Susannah. Both are now buried in the Leeds General Cemetery. 1810-1871". We spoke about the cultural power of the circus during the 19th century, Fanque's entry into the circus and equestrian talent and how and why he appeared in a Beatles song lyric. 


The Blue Plaque Pod is brought to you by Kassia St. Clair, author, cultural historian and commemorative plaque fancier. I would love to know what you think, whether you have a favourite plaque, or if there's someone you think would make a great guest. Get in touch at blueplaquepod.com. 

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