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Client details

JB Priestley (Estate)

Playwright

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Agent
Robert Kirby
Assistant: Holly Thompson
+ 44 (0) 203 214 0884
About

John Boynton Priestley was born in 1894. He went to Belle Vue High School, which he left aged 16 to join a wool office as a junior clerk. While there he wrote in his spare time; in 1913 SECRETS OF THE RAGTIME KING was published in the London Opinion. He also wrote a weekly column for Bradford Labour paper during this time.

He joined the Duke of Wellington's West Riding Regiment as a regular soldier in 1914. Having refused a commission he fought and was seriously injured by a trench mortar in France - after convalescing he took a commission in the Devon regiment but was gassed in autumn 1918 and declared unfit for active service. He left the army in the spring of 1919, receiving an ex officers' grant. He then went to Trinity Hall, Cambridge to read modern history and political science, supplementing his grant by writing and lecturing. During this time he married Pat Tempest.

In 1922 he moved to London (after refusing several overseas professorships) to find work as a freelance writer; he wrote essays, critical articles and worked as a reader for Bodley Head Publishers, recommending the first novels of Graham Greene and C.S Forester. Two daughters were born in 1923 and 1924 but in 1925 his wife died of cancer. He married Jane Wyndham Lewis a year later, with whom he had two daughters and a son.

He joined the Duke of Wellington's West Riding Regiment as a regular soldier in 1914. Having refused a commission he fought and was seriously injured by a trench mortar in France - after convalescing he took a commission in the Devon regiment but was gassed in autumn 1918 and declared unfit for active service. He left the army in the spring of 1919, receiving an ex officers' grant. He then went to Trinity Hall, Cambridge to read modern history and political science, supplementing his grant by writing and lecturing. During this time he married Pat Tempest.

In 1922 he moved to London (after refusing several overseas professorships) to find work as a freelance writer; he wrote essays, critical articles and worked as a reader for Bodley Head Publishers, recommending the first novels of Graham Greene and C.S Forester. Two daughters were born in 1923 and 1924 but in 1925 his wife died of cancer. He married Jane Wyndham Lewis a year later, with whom he had two daughters and a son.

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Agents
Nicki Stoddart
Stage
+44 (0) 20 3214 0869
Anthony Jones
Film, TV and Radio
Assistant: Danielle Walker
+44 (0) 20 3214 0858
About

John Boynton Priestley was born in 1894 in Bradford, Yorkshire, son of a schoolmaster,.  He left Belle Vue School at 16 and worked in a wool office, beginning to write in his spare time.   He volunteered for the army in 1914 and served throughout the First World War, surviving the grim conditions of the trenches,

He gained a grant to go to Cambridge and launched his professional career with Brief Diversions, a collection of short pieces, which attracted attention in London.  After graduating, he moved to London with his first wife, Pat, and set up as a professional writer , reviewing, writing essays and literary biographies and reading for the publisher John Lane.  His fourth novel, THE GOOD COMPANIONS, came out in 1929 and was a huge success, followed by ANGEL PAVEMENT, in 1930.  He entered the theatre in 1932 with DANGEROUS CORNER, and dominated the London stage during the 1930s with a succession of plays such as EDEN END, I HAVE BEEN HERE BEFORE, TIME AND THE CONWAYS, WHEN WE ARE MARRIED and JOHNSON OVER JORDAN, and in the 1940s with THEY CAME TO A CITY, AN INSPECTOR CALLS, THE LINDEN TREE, SUMMER DAY''S DREAM and THE GLASS CAGE in 1958.  

During the Second World War, he established a new reputation as a broadcaster.   A profilic writer, he continued writing novels. notably BRIGHT DAY and LOST EMPIRES, and an important list of non-fiction, ENGLISH JOURNEY, launched him into a new role as a social commentator.  

MIDNIGHT ON THE DESERT and RAIN UPON GODSHILL were chapters of autobiography, MARGIN RELEASED a memoir, LITERATURE AND WESTERN MAN, the sum of a lifetime's reading. and three social histories were THE PRINCE OF PLEASURE, THE EDWARDIANS and VICTORIA'S HEYDAY.   Over all, he published more than 100 books - non-fiction, fiction and drama, as well as countles newspaper articles and reviews.

He was married three times and had four daughters and one son.   He was a lifelong socialist of the old kind, yet never joined the Labour Party.  He was a spokesman for the ordinary people, unashamedly middlebrow, patriotic and honest and, opposed to the class system, he turned down offers of a knighthood and a peerage but gladly accepted the Order of Merit in 1977.

He died in 1984.

Theatre
ProductionCompanyNotes
THE GLASS CAGE
(1958)
TAKE THE FOOL AWAY
(1956)
TREASURE ON PELICAN
(1953)
THE DRAGON'S MOUTH
(1952)
THE ROSE AND CROWN
(1947)
BRIGHT SHADOW
(1950)
HOME IS TOMORROW
(1948)
EVER SINCE PARADISE
(1947)
THE LINDEN TREE
(1947)
THEY CAME TO A CITY
(1943)
HOW ARE THEY AT HOME
(1944)
AN INSPECTOR CALLS
(1944)
THE LONG MIRROR
(1940)
JOHNSON OVER JORDAN
(1939)
WHEN WE ARE MARRIED
(1938)
PEOPLE AT SEA
(1937)
TIME AND THE CONWAYS
(1937)
I HAVE BEEN HERE BEFORE
(1937)
EDEN END
(1934)
LABURNUM GROVE
(1933)
DANGEROUS CORNER
(1932)
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