- About J.B. Priestley: The Last Great Man of English Letters
John Priestley (he added Boynton later on) was born in Bradford in the West Riding of Yorkshire on 13 September 1894. His father, Jonathan, was a pioneering schoolmaster, his mother, Emma, had been a mill girl. Emma died when he was very young, but fortunately his stepmother, Amy, was very kind. Jack, as he was known to the family, enjoyed the rich cultural and social life of prosperous, cosmopolitan and relatively classless Bradford: music hall, football, classical music concerts and family gatherings. Many of his finest novels, plays and memoirs draw on his feelings about this vanished time, particularly “Bright Day” (1946), in which a disillusioned scriptwriter looks back at his golden Bradford adolescence, and “Lost Empires” (1965), recreating the 1913 variety theatre.