J. B. Priestley

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J.B. Priestley was a prolific writer in England who lived an eventful life. He belonged to the last generation of nonconformist writers who included science and philosophy in their huge body of work. Despite the fact that his name has faded over time, his works are nevertheless admired by a number of today’s free-thinking authors, essayists, scientists, and philosophers. He gained international acclaim as a writer, critic, and historian during his long and successful career. He also contributed in the form of opera librettos, drawings, short stories, and even acting, when one of the players in one of his plays became ill unexpectedly. In his younger years, he would spend whatever money he had on books and experiment with different types of writing. He also served in the army during World War I for a short time before establishing a name as a witty writer and critic. ‘The Good Companions,’ ‘Angel Pavement,’ and ‘Let the People Sing,’ as well as plays like ‘An Inspector Calls,’ ‘Dangerous Corner,’ and ‘Time and the Conways,’ are among his best-known works.

Childhood and Adolescence

John Boynton Priestley was born in a Bradford area in the United Kingdom. His mother died when he was two years old, and his father remarried four years later.

He attended Belle Vue Grammar School but went out at the age of 16 to work as a junior clerk at the wool firm ‘Helm & Co.’ From 1910 to 1914, he worked at the firm and began writing short articles that were published in local newspapers.

J. B. Priestley’s Career

He entered in the army at the outbreak of World War I and served in the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment’s 10th Battalion. He was seriously wounded in 1916, and he wrote about his experiences in his memoirs, ‘Margin Released,’ which was published decades later.

He completed his university studies at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, after military service, and published his first novel, ‘Adam in Moonshine,’ in 1927. This was followed by a novel named ‘Benighted’ the following year.

With the novel ‘The Good Companions,’ which he published in 1929, he made a breakthrough. For the work, he won the coveted James Tait Black Memorial Prize, which launched him to national prominence. In the same year, he co-wrote ‘Farthing Hall with Hugh Walpole.

In 1930, he published the novel ‘Angel Pavement,’ which solidified his position among the literary elite. ‘The Town Major of Miraucourt’ was another novel published this year.
He released ‘Stamboul Train’ and ‘Faraway’ in 1932. He teamed with Gerald Bullett and published ‘I’ll Tell You Everything’ the following year. He wrote his first play, ‘Dangerous Corner,’ in addition to novels and fiction.

In 1933, he published his second play, ‘Laburnum Grove,’ as well as the books Albert Goes Through’ and ‘Wonder Hero.’ The following year was particularly profitable for him, as he wrote his first travelogue, ‘English Journey.’

He wrote the books ‘They Walk in the City’ and ‘The Doomsday Men’ between 1935 and 1938. ‘Cornelius,’ ‘Time and the Conways,’ ‘I Have Been Here Before,’ and ‘When We Are Married’ are some of his other works.

He became a frequent commentator on the BBC’s ‘Postscript’ from 1940 to 1941, during the commencement of World War II. He chaired the 1941 Committee at this time, and the following year, he co-founded the socialist ‘Common Wealth Party.’
From 1942 through 1945, his written efforts were limited to one publication per year. ‘Blackout in Greeley,’ ‘Daylight on Saturday,’ and ‘Three Men in New Suits’ are among them. ‘An Inspector Calls,’ one of his most well-known pieces, was written in 1946.

‘Bright Day’ (1946), ‘Jenny Villiers’ (1947), and ‘The Linden Tree’ are among his other works from the 1940s (1947).
His literary production began to dwindle after 1950, and he only published three novels: ‘Festival at Farbridge,’ ‘Low Notes on a High Level,’ and ‘The Magicians.’ He also wrote ‘The Other Place,’ a collection of short stories, and was the writer and producer of the film ‘Last Holiday.’

He became a founding member of the ‘Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in 1958. He released ‘Literature and Western Man two years later, a 500-page assessment of Western prose in all its forms.

In 1962, he published his autobiography, ‘Margin Released,’ which gives readers great insight into his work. The novel ‘The Shapes of Sleep’ was published the same year.

In 1964, he wrote the essay “Man and Time” as well as the fiction “Sir Michael and Sir George.” He published ‘The Image Men Vol. 1: Out of Town’ and ‘The Image Men Vol. 2: London End four years later.
He wrote ‘The Carfitt Crisis’ and ‘Found Lost Found’ between 1975 and 1976.

His Major Projects

‘The Good Companions,’ one of his most well-known works, was released in 1929. The book was awarded the ‘James Tait Black Memorial Prize and was made into two films. As soon as it was published in Europe, it became an instant smash. Although the book was not well received by critics, readers adored it, and it was transformed into a theatrical production in 1931.

Achievements and Awards

In 1970, the University of Bradford awarded him an honorary Doctor of Letters.

Bradford bestowed upon him the award of ‘Freedom of the City in 1973.
In 1977, he received the Order of Merit.

Personal History and Legacy

He had three marriages. In 1921, he married Emily Tempest and they had two kids together. Emily died in 1925 from cancer.
He married Jane Wyndham-Lewis in 1926, and they had two daughters and a boy together.

In 1953, he divorced Jane Wyndham-Lewis and married Jacquetta Hawkes, an archaeologist, and writer.
He was a lifelong fan of classical music and even wrote a libretto titled “The Olympians,” which premiered in 1949.

He struggled from depression in his later years and died at the age of 89 in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England.
Following his death, a collector’s edition of ‘Bright Day’ was published in 2006 to commemorate the novel’s 60th anniversary.

Estimated Net worth

J B Priestley’s net worth is estimated to be $ USD 2 million, with primary sources of income including playwright, writer, librarian, journalist, novelist, literary critic, children’s writer, and science fiction writer.


This well-known English writer, broadcaster, and playwright were famed for always posing with and holding his signature pipe.