An English teacher is celebrating after a successful campaign to see the novels of one of Bradford’s most famous sons back in print.
Lee Hanson, chairman of the JB Priestley Society and Head of English at Bradford Grammar School (BGS), has been part of a concerted effort to see Priestley’s titles republished.
Now, as part of the Bradford writer’s remarkable renaissance, four of JB Priestley’s finest novels will be republished alongside an unpublished memoir by his long-time personal secretary.
Lee, who is series editor of the Priestley Series for Great Northern Books, brought the memoir to the attention of JB Priestley’s stepson, Nicolas Hawkes, and the society and arranged a series of meetings with the publisher, Great Northern Books, where he convinced them it was worthy of publication.
The teacher, who has been editor of the Priestley titles with Great Northern Books since 2006, said: “JB Priestley is the Yorkshire person that I most admire, a boy from humble origins who went on to be listened to and read by millions – a person who really made a difference.
“Most people are aware of Priestley as the author of ‘An Inspector Calls’ and as a teacher it has always delighted me to find young people become so engaged with the issues that particular play explores. There is also a real humanity to his novels and they display a great sense of what it means to be human.”
John Boynton Priestley, known by his pen name JB Priestley, was an English novelist, playwright, scriptwriter, social commentator and broadcaster.
The unpublished memoir reveals the writer’s daily routines, writing habits, hobbies, weaknesses, eccentricities and his correspondence with family and renowned figures of the 20th Century. Lee added: “It is a true warts and all portrait of this great writer; a truthful, revealing and, in the end, very moving book.”
BGS Headmaster Simon Hinchliffe said: “We’re very proud of Lee and members of the JB Priestley Society who have campaigned tirelessly to see the works of this great Yorkshire author back in print where they belong.”
Lee will be appearing alongside Barry Cryer at the Ilkley Literature Festival on Sunday September 30, at 2pm where they will discuss JB Priestley, the new memoir, Priestley at Kissing Tree House, and the author’s enduring appeal.
“Most people are aware of Priestley as the author of ‘An Inspector Calls’ and as a teacher it has always delighted me to find young people become so engaged with the issues that particular play explores.
There is also a real humanity to his novels and they display a great sense of what it means to be human.”