17 November 2018
Juliet Jacques read A Wo/Man of No Importance, a short piece of fiction that recounts the events surrounding Oscar Wilde’s trial as well as tales from the decadent literary and artistic circles of London in the late 1800s.
Written from the perspective of an anonymous narrator in 1914, A Wo/Man of No Importance tells the story of Arthur Parr, an androgynous aspiring artist and writer. Parr was determined to get their work published in The Yellow Book, a quarterly periodical published by John Lane and Elkin Mathews from 1894-97, and so became more and more consumed by the glamorous world of London’s artistic elite. As Parr became more enamoured with the social, they became less focused on publishing stories and more concerned with living them. Parr’s art became their life and a new “invert” identity evolved as the story takes a tragic turn at the hands of an intolerant society.
This event was the first public presentation of A Wo/Man of No Importance, taken from Jacques’ forthcoming collection of short stories that tell a potted history of trans people in the United Kingdom from the Victorian period to the present day.
About the contributor:
Juliet Jacques (b. 1981) is a writer and filmmaker based in London. Jacques has published two books: Rayner Heppenstall: A Critical Study (Dalkey Archive, 2007) and Trans: A Memoir (Verso, 2015). Her short fiction, essays and criticism have appeared in Granta, The Guardian, The White Review, Sight & Sound, Filmwaves, Cineaste, Frieze, London Review of Books and many other publications and websites.
Jacques has made two 16mm films – Approach/Withdraw, co-directed with artist Ker Wallwork (2016), and You Will Be Free (2017), commissioned by Studio Voltaire. Previous screenings include: Athens International Film and Video Festival, 2018, Athens; BFI Flare LGBT+ Film Festival,2017 and 2018, London; East End Film Festival, 2017, London; You Will Be Free, 2018, Studio Voltaire, London; Screenings in honour of Sophie Podolski, organized by Chris Kraus, WIELS Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels; More of an avalanche, 2018, Wysing Art Centre, Cambridge. Most recently Jacques directed a documentary entitled Revivification: Art, Activism and Politics in Ukraine (2018), as part of a residency with the Izolyatsia platform for cultural initiatives in Kyiv.