John Gerard Braine (13 April 1922 – 28 October 1986) was an English novelist. Braine is usually listed among the Angry Young Men, a loosely defined group of English writers who emerged on the literary scene in the 1950s.
Although he wrote 12 works of fiction, Braine is chiefly remembered today for his first novel, Room at the Top (1957). He stated that his favourite author was Guy de Maupassant and that Room at the Top was based on Bel Ami, but that 'the critics didn't pick it up'. There was possibly more to pick up. The plural of Ami is Amis, a possible reference to Braine's friend and literary contemporary Kingsley Amis, who had become famous three years before Braine with the publication of his novel Lucky Jim in 1954.
Room at the Top was turned into a successful 1959 film, with Laurence Harvey as Joe Lampton and featuring an Oscar–winning performance by Simone Signoret. In September 2012, BBC television broadcast a two-part dramatisation that had been delayed because of a dispute over copyright. Matthew McNulty was in the lead role
After achieving literary success, Braine moved to the south of England, living for a time in Woking. He wrote several more novels, including Life at the Top, a sequel to Room at the Top. His 1968 novel The Crying Game is set in London and captures some of the atmosphere of the 'Swinging Sixties'. (It is not related to the 1992 film of the same name). His 1974 book Writing a Novel was a guide for aspiring novelists.
Braine was mildly left-wing in his youth, but like his contemporaries (and fellow "Angry Young Men") Amis and John Wain, he later moved to the political right, and supported America's involvement in the Vietnam War. In 1967, Braine, Robert Conquest, Amis and several others signed a controversial letter to The Times titled "Backing for U.S. Policies in Vietnam", supporting the US government in Vietnam.
Braine was married to Helen Wood and had four children. He died in 1986 at age 64.
- Room at the Top (1957) Reissued in 2013 by Valancourt Books
- The Vodi (1959) Reissued in 2013 by Valancourt Books
- Life at the Top (1962) Reissued in 2015 by Valancourt Books
- The Jealous God (1964)
- The Crying Game (1968) (not related to the 1992 film of the same title)
- Stay with Me Till Morning (1970)
- The Queen of a Distant Country (1972)
- The Pious Agent (1975)
- Waiting for Sheila (1976)
- One and Last Love (1981)
- The Two of Us (1984)
- These Golden Days (1985)
- Man at the Top (Thames Television, 1970-1): five scripts for the first series of this drama based on Braine's character Joe Lampton