Leicester launch of Orton memoir at University of Leicester

Posted by pt91 at Nov 10, 2016 01:43 PM |
Sister of controversial playwright to discuss her memoir with Dr Emma Parker during University’s Literary Leicester Festival

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 10 November 2016

Photo Opp: Leonie Orton will be at the University’s Attenborough Arts Centre, Lancaster Road, Leicester, on 16 November at 2pm. To book: http://www2.le.ac.uk/institution/literary-leicester/events/leonie-orton-i-had-it-in-me

There are short interview opps with Leonie Orton immediately before and after the event by arrangement with Dr Emma Parker: ep27@le.ac.uk

The memoir will be for sale at the event, and Leonie Orton will be available to personally sign the books at the end of her discussion with Dr Emma Parker

The University of Leicester is to host the Leicester launch of a new memoir by Leonie Orton, the sister of playwright Joe Orton whose archive is housed at the University.

Leonie has written her memoir – I Had It In Me - which will be launched at the University’s Attenborough Arts Centre on 16 November at 2pm during the University’s Literary Leicester festival.

The event will be preceded at the same venue, from 1-2pm, by a talk by Dr Emma Parker from the School of Arts: ‘Joe Orton and ‘Shoxbear’’.

To mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death, this talk will examine what the library book covers that Orton defaced (or redesigned) with his partner Kenneth Halliwell reveal about his subversive attitude to the Bard, social class and sexuality in mid-century Britain.

These two events are part of a series of events marking the life and legacy of Joe Orton.

Joe Orton (1933-1967) was a Leicester-born playwright who helped to define 1960s British culture. Known for his anarchic black comedies and sexually frank diary, Orton is a major post-war dramatist and a gay icon.

As well as offering personal insights into playwright Joe Orton’s early life in post-war Leicester, Leonie’s memoir tells her own story – her fight to educate herself, nurture her brother’s legacy and become her own woman.

Leonie, a former Library Assistant at the University, describes growing up on a Leicester council estate in the 1940s and 1950s as her brother rose to become a remarkable writer. For the first time she recounts how the family coped with his brutal murder and lost diaries. She also describes her fight to educate herself, nurture her own family and eventually take over the management of her brother’s legacy. In short, how she became the successful woman she is today.

The memoir includes previously unseen family photographs, a chapter on Joe's missing diaries, reference notes and a detailed index.

Dr Parker said: “These two Literary Leicester events promise to shed new light on Joe Orton by looking at his rarely-seen vandalised Shakespeare book covers and by offering fresh insights into his early life in Leicester.”

The Joe Orton project is marking the 50th anniversary of the premiere of Orton’s three major plays:

  • Entertaining Mr Sloane (2014)
  • Loot (2016)
  • What the Butler Saw (2019)

The project will also commemorate the 50th anniversary of his death in 2017.

Through a series of exhibitions, productions, screenings, talks, and publications that pay particular attention to issues of class and sexuality, the project seeks to celebrate Orton’s achievements, to consider previously overlooked aspects of his work, and to recognise his cultural impact and legacy.

For more information on Literary Leicester 2016, visit: www.le.ac.uk/literaryleicester

To view the programme and book tickets: http://www2.le.ac.uk/institution/literary-leicester/events

Joe Orton 50 Years On: http://www2.le.ac.uk/departments/english/research/joe-orton-50-years-on

  • I Had It In Me is published by Leicester-based Quirky Press.

ISBN:978-0-9928834-2-3 (pp216)
Price £12.99 including P&P in UK

The memoir will be for sale at the event, and Leonie Orton will be available to personally sign the books at the end of her discussion with Dr Emma Parker

You can read The Observer’s  feature on Leonie here: https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2016/oct/30/leonie-orton-i-hero-worshipped-joe-orton-memoir-interview

Further information about the Joe Orton Archive at the University of Leicester: http://www2.le.ac.uk/library/find/specialcollections/specialcollections/joe-orton-collection

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