Extract from Tangier Diary



Joe Orton's London and Tangier diaries covering the period December 1966 to August 1967 are published by Methuen:

The Orton Diaries
ISBN 9780413736505
Including an introduction by John Lahr and the correspondence of Edna Welthorpe

The diaries cover a prolific period in Orton’s life. He had established himself as a significant writer, was successful, rich, fêted by his peers and his future looked very bright.

The diaries are a frank, no holds barred account of his life. They range from the mundane, overheard conversations on buses, to the explicit, including candid details of his many sexual encounters. The diaries should be read with a certain care. Orton always intended them for publication and while they stand as a record of his life they are also a literary work, with ‘Joe Orton’ as the main character. The effortless conversations and witty banter indicate a more polished work than real life but the writing shows Orton at his best, with his signature macabre humour, the ‘Ortonesque’, running throughout.

The diaries reveal a man of fierce intelligence, well read, funny and clearly revelling in his new found fame and notoriety as a playwright. They also record the difficulties he was experiencing in his relationship with Halliwell, but the closeness and regard with which Orton held him are apparent. Even after a violent attack on Orton by Halliwell at the end of their holiday in Tangiers, the entries on their return to London dwell on Halliwell’s suffering from hay fever and the ‘ghastly heat’ of the London summer. There is nothing in the diaries to suggest Orton had any suspicion of what was to come.

You can now purchase the Orton Diaries via our Amazon shop here
(Some editions may be out of print but can be purchased second hand)

Image: Courtesy The Orton Estate/Joe Orton Collection at the Library of the University of Leicester   Text © Leicester City Council  

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