Orton memoir to have Leicester launch at literary festival

Our University 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 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.

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.

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.