William Denis Johnston (1901 - 1894):
Lawyer and writer
William Johnston was born in Dublin and was educated at Dublin, Edinburgh and Christ's College, Cambridge, where he studied law and was President of the Union. He went to Harvard as a Pugsley Scholar, was called to the English Bar in 1925 and the Northern Ireland Bar in 1926. From 1931 to 1936 he was Director of the Gate Theatre. During the Second World War he was a correspondent for the BBC and was subsequently awarded the Order of the British Empire for his services. Having been a BBC drama producer, he became Director of Programmes in 1946 for two years. From 1952 until 1960 he was a member of the English Department at Mount Holyoke, Massachusetts. In 1955 he was given a Guggenheim Fellowship, and in 1961 was appointed head of the Theatre Department at Smith College, Massachusetts. He was a member of the Irish Academy of Letters and a playwright. Among his works are The Old Lady Says No; The Moon on the Yellow River; A Bride for the Unicorn; The Golden Cuckoo and The Scythe and the Sunset. He also wrote a biography, In Search of Swift, and two autobiographies, Nine Rivers from Jordan and The Brazen Head. In 1977 the Allied Irish Bank gave him their award for literature, and in 1979 the New University of Ulster bestowed on him an honorary doctorate.