Media: Inside Publishing - Prick up your ears

There was a rare radio airing late last year of Up Against It, Joe Orton's screenplay, commissioned by Brian Epstein and then rejected by him due to its "dubious morality". Over the next 18 months we are in for something of an Ortonfest, for two plays and three novels found among his papers are to be published for the first time.

Fred and Madge, Orton's first play, dating from 1959, and The Visitors, a work from 1961, are to be published in one volume by Nick Hern Books in May. The Boy Hairdresser, from 1960, is a novel written jointly by Orton and his lover Kenneth Halliwell, who later bludgeoned him to death at their Islington flat. That is scheduled for the autumn. And in spring 1999 come two novellas, which NHB will publish in one volume: Lord Cucumber, another Orton/Halliwell collaboration, this time from 1964, and Between Us Girls, Orton's solo debut from 1957. All pre-date his celebrated stage debut with Entertaining Mr Sloane while Lord Cucumber is informed by Orton's 1962 sojourn at Her Majesty's pleasure for defacing library books.

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