J.B.Priestley – EightSquaredCon’s Ghost of Honour.

Once we knew we would be holding Eastercon in Bradford, we wanted to honour a local SF writer. One of our local members, Colin Fine, promptly suggested J.B. Priestley. Barely a moment’s thought showed us what a very good idea this was. Most of the Committee recall studying one or other of his plays at school. When my class did ‘Time and the Conways’, I distinctly remember the thrill of realising you could have time travel in an English lesson as well as in Doctor Who. Thirty years later, a good few of the convention’s teenagers enjoyed ‘An Inspector Calls’ as a GCSE set text just last year. His quietly durable work is well worth a fresh look as modern literary writers increasingly adopt SF ideas and themes. Priestley was doing that decades ago, as well as using elements of the fantastic to address political and social debates; a tradition which continues to this day.

Our Committee member Kari, who knows her way around academe, traced the Priestley Archive to Bradford University. She was soon liaising with Alison Cullingford, librarian in charge of the Archive and a member of the Priestley Society’s steering committee. Consequently we are delighted to welcome Lee Hansen of The Priestley Society to EightSquaredCon as a guest speaker. As well as offering an overview of Priestley’s life and work, this talk will look at the inclusion of new technologies in his fiction, at his interest in time theories, and at his friendship with HG Wells. Did you know that Priestley gave the address at HG Wells’s funeral? No, me neither. I cannnot wait to learn more.

For further information, do visit The J.B.Priestley Society website.


Photograph courtesy of the J.B. Priestley Archive, University of Bradford


One Comment on “J.B.Priestley – EightSquaredCon’s Ghost of Honour.”

  1. Looking forward to this.

    I saw Patrick Stewart in Priestley’s ‘Johnson Over Jordan’ at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in 2001; 11th September 2001, in fact – a very strange day to see a play about death after watching the twin towers crash and burn on TV news reports throughout the day. A play concerning a journey through the afterlife – certainly SF in part.

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