Who is he?
• John Boynton Priestley was born in Yorkshire on 13th September
1894.
• He had a love of orchestra music and supported many fundraising
campaigns.
• He was married three times. He and his first wife had two daughters
but she died after four years of marriage due to cancer.
• His second marriage ended in divorce after twenty seven years.
They had two daughters and one son.
• His third and last marriage was to Jacquetta Hawkes, who was also
the collaborator of the play Dragon’s Mouth.
• John Boynton Priestley died on 14th August 1984.
• Before his death he became a well known novelist, play writer and
broadcaster.
Why he wrote what he wrote…
• The motivation behind J B Priestley's play An
Inspector Calls was World War One.
• Priestley intention was to show the changes that
had happened between 1912 and 1945.
• Priestley set An Inspector Calls in 1912 so that
his audiences would realise how Mr. Birling was
very stupid due to his predictions about the war
and ‘Titanic’. This style of writing is called
dramatic irony.
• In total Priestley wrote thirteen plays, twenty
eight novels and seven other works of fiction.
His early life
• From an early age, Priestley knew he wanted to be a
writer. However, Priestley decided against enrolling in
University as he wanted to get a better feel for the world.
• At the age of sixteen he became a junior clerk, with a
local wool firm.
• When the First World War came Priestley joined the
infantry, escaping with only a few injuries.
• After the war, Priestley got a degree from the University
of Cambridge. He went on to become a freelance writer
and wrote his first novel of many called The Good
Companions, in 1929 .
• Priestley wrote his first play in 1932 and went on to write
50 more.
• Priestley had his own broadcast show in the Second
World War, but it was cancelled by the BBC for being too
controversial and harsh against the government.
• During the 1930’s Priestly became concerned about the
effects of social inequality in Britain.
• Along with others, he set up a political party called the
Common Wealth Party.
• In 1945 the Labour Party joined with the Common
Wealth Party. However, Priestley was consciously aware
of the Welfare State which was put into place at the end
of World War One.
• He believed that with the cooperation of other countries,
the world could reach a mutual respect, leading to
peace. He also became active in the movement for
United Nations.
• Priestley wished Britain could one day become an
example by putting a stop to the use of force and
weaponry,particularly nuclear weapons.
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JB Priestley - Annan Academy English Department Blog