Interesting Literature

The life, work, and death of Joe Orton, told through five interesting facts

1. Joe Orton and his lover Kenneth Halliwell were both sent to prison in 1962 for defacing library books. They served six-month prison sentences in different prisons for vandalising the books. One of Orton’s illustrations (which adorned a volume of John Betjeman’s poems) depicted an elderly man with tattoos, wearing swimming trunks. The defaced library books are now a part of the Islington Local History Centre collection – which just goes to show, it’s vandalism when you do it and you’re an unknown, but become a groundbreaking writer and give it fifty years, and it becomes art!

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