John Braine

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For the English footballer, see Jonny Brain.
John Braine in 1962

John Gerard Braine (13 April 1922 – 28 October 1986) was an English novelist. Braine is usually associated with the Angry Young Men movement.


John Braine was born in Bingley, near Bradford, Yorkshire. He left St. Bede's Grammar School at 16 and worked in a shop, a laboratory and a factory before becoming, after the war, a librarian. Although he wrote twelve 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'.[citation needed] [There was more possibly to pick up. For its plural Ami has Amis, a touch upon his literary contemporary of exactly the same age, Kingsley Amis, yet three years senior in fame, Amis' Lucky Jim, 1954.]   Room at the Top was turned into a successful 1959 film with Laurence Harvey as Joe Lampton and made much to feature Simone Signoret in an Oscar–winning performance. In September 2012, BBC television finally broadcast a two-part dramatisation that had been delayed because of a dispute over copyright. Matthew McNulty was in the lead role

Following his literary success, John Braine moved to the south of England, living for a time in Woking. 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). Mildly left-wing in youth, he later moved (like his contemporaries Kingsley Amis and John Wain) to the political right, and supported America's involvement in Vietnam. In 1967, Braine, Robert Conquest, Kingsley Amis and several others signed a controversial letter to The Times entitled "Backing for U.S. Policies in Vietnam", supporting the US government in the Vietnam War.[1] He married Helen Wood and had four children. He died in 1986, aged 64.

Select bibliography[edit]




  1. ^ John Wakeman, World Authors 1950-1970 : a companion volume to Twentieth Century Authors. New York : H.W. Wilson Company, 1975. ISBN 0824204190. (pp. 444-48).
  2. ^ See the review at DVDCompare, of the 2010 UK DVD release: DVDCompare review

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