Shelagh Delaney, FRSL (born 25 November 1939, Salford, Lancashire) is an English playwright and screenwriter, best known for her debut work, A Taste of Honey (1958).
The daughter of a bus inspector, Delaney is of Irish descent. She failed the Eleven plus exam, but transferred to a Grammar School at fifteen from a secondary modern school gaining five O levels. Thinking she could do better than Terence Rattigan's Variations on a Theme, Delaney wrote her first play, in part because she felt the work showed "insensitivity in the way Rattigan portrayed homosexuals". Her play was accepted by Joan Littlewood's Theatre Workshop. "Quite apart from its meaty content, we believe we have found a real dramatist", Gerry Raffles of Theatre Workshop said at the time.
A Taste of Honey, first performed on 27 May 1958, is set in Salford, a city which Delaney regarded as a valuable resource for her writing. "I had strong ideas about what I wanted to see in the theatre. We used to object to plays where the factory workers came cap in hand and call the boss 'Sir.' Usually North Country people are shown as gormless, whereas in actual fact, they are very alive and cynical." Reuniting the original cast,