Jewish-British playwright Arnold Wesker dies at 83

Jewish-British playwright Arnold Wesker, a member of the "Angry Young Men" movement of the 1950s which pushed for more social theatre about working-class lives, has died aged 83, his family said on Wednesday.

Prime Minister David Cameron and leader of the main opposition Labour party Jeremy Corbyn paid tribute at a weekly debate in parliament, with Corbyn saying that Wesker and his peers "changed the face of our country".

The London-born writer was best known for his trilogy of plays "Chicken Soup With Barley", "Roots" and "I'm Talking About Jerusalem" penned in the 1950s. He released his last work "The Rocking Horse" in 2007.

Wesker's plays have been translated into 20 languages.

Wesker, who was knighted in 2006, died on Tuesday evening after a long illness, his widow told the BBC.

He was born to Jewish communists and grew up in the East End of London. He drew on his working-class background for several works in a prolific career in which he wrote 50 plays.

At various times in his life he worked as a bookseller's assistant, a carpenter and a plumber's assistant, the Guardian newspaper said in its obituary.

He was also active in the anti-nuclear movement.

The "Angry Young Men" were a group of British playwrights and novelists including Kingsley Amis and Harold Pinter who rose to prominence in the 1950s for rebelling against a more genteel style of writing.

AFP contributed to this report.


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