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Writer Shelagh Delaney dies of cancer

Molly Huscroft

Delaney's hometown of Salford in Manchester

“A Taste of Honey” playwright dies days before 72nd birthday

Playwright Shelagh Delaney has died of cancer, her agent said Monday. 

Agent Jane Villiers said Delaney, best known for her 1958 play “A Taste of Honey,” died Sunday night at her daughter’s home in eastern England. Delaney was only a few days short of her 72nd birthday.

Delaney was only 19 when “A Taste of Honey” premiered. The play focuses on the story of a young woman’s pregnancy following a one-night stand with a black sailor and her supportive relationship with a gay artist. While the plotline was considered scandalous at the time, the play had successful runs in London and New York.

The play and its film adaptation are considered to be part of Britain’s “kitchen sink realism” movement of the late 1950s and 1960s. “Kitchen sink realism” revealed the rough reality of working-class life and included such works as John Osborne’s “Look Back in Anger” and Alan Sillitoe’s “Saturday Night and Sunday Morning.”

Delaney and the film adaptation’s director, Tony Richardson, together won BAFTA and Writer’s Guild awards for best screenplay for the 1961 film, which starred Rita Tushingham.

Delaney is survived by her daughter, Charlotte Delaney, and her grandchildren, Max, Gable, and Rosa Delaney.

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