A Wo-Man of No Importance
Juliet Jacques

17 November 2018

Juliet Jacques’ performative reading of A Wo/Man of No Importance, is 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 of 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 the story progresses, Parr becomes less focused on publishing stories and more concerned with living them. Eventually, Parr’s art becomes their life and a new “invert” identity evolves as the narrative 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, a tale 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.

  1. Juliet Jacques (b. Redhill, 1981) is a writer and filmmaker. She has published two books, most recently Trans: A Memoir (Verso, 2015), which was runner-up in Polari LGBT Literary Salon’s First Book Award in 2016. Her next book, a volume of short stories about the history of British trans and non-binary people entitled Variations, will be published by Influx Press in June 2021. Her short fiction, essays, journalism and criticism have appeared in numerous publications including The Guardian, New York Times, Granta, London Review of Books, Sight & Sound, Art Review, Frieze, Wire, The Washington Post, Five Dials, The New Inquiry and elsewhere.

    Her short films have screened in galleries and at festivals worldwide; she also hosts the political arts podcast/radio programme Suite (212) and teaches at the Royal College of Art and elsewhere. She featured on the Independent on Sunday Pink List between 2011 and 2015, and spoke at the PEN International Congress in 2014.

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