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A picture paints a thousand words: University of Leicester academic to examine the subtext of local playwright Joe Orton’s library book vandalism

Posted by ew205 at Oct 12, 2017 10:40 AM |
Dr Emma Parker will deliver a one hour lecture “Joe Orton and Shakespeare: Library books, Class and Queerness” at the Leicester Literary and Philosophical Society on 16 October

Leicester’s boundary-pushing playwright Joe Orton is to be discussed in an upcoming public lecture at the Leicester Literary and Philosophical Society on 16 October.

It will take place at New Walk Museum at 7.30 pm. Visitors tickets cost £3, and no prior booking is required for event attendance.

The lecture, “Joe Orton and Shakespeare: Library books, Class and Queerness”, will focus on the library book covers that Joe Orton defaced or redesigned with his partner Keith Halliwell, and what this reveals about his subversive attitude to the Bard, social class and sexuality in mid-century Britain.

Joe Orton (1933-1967) was a leading post-war playwright. His black comedies Entertaining Mr Sloane (1964), Loot (1966) and What the Butler Saw (1969) made him a subversive literary voice central to the Swinging Sixties.

Dr Emma Parker, Associate Professor of English at the University of Leicester School Of Arts, is an expert on post-war and contemporary literature.

Her research has been featured on BBC Radio 4 'Today', 'Women's Hour' and 'Front Row' as well as BBC East Midlands Today and BBC Radio Leicester.

Dr Parker is also a specialist on the work of Leicester’s Joe Orton. In the past year, she has co-curated three exhibitions about Orton’s life and work, which took place in Leicester, Nottingham and London.

Sir Kent Woods, this year’s President of the Literary & Philosophical society, said: “The career of Joe Orton was meteoric but tragically short. Dr Parker’s lecture will be a timely exploration of the turbulent life behind his writing”.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of Orton’s death in 2017, Dr Parker will be hosting a unique event at this year’s Literary Leicester festival that is free and open to the public.

Joe Orton penned spoof letters of complaint that satirised snobbery and conservatism. He wrote these letters under the pseudonym ‘Mrs Edna Welthorpe’.

Dr Parker and filmmaker Chris Shepherd will air their collaborative animation ‘Yours Faithfully, Edna Welthorpe (Mrs)’, and present new Edna letters by top comedy writers such as Jesse Armstrong (The Thick of It), David Quantick (Veep), Arthur Mathews (Father Ted).

Further information on Leicester Literary and Philosophical Society events can be found here:


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