Other literary forms

(Survey of Novels and Novellas)

Although John Braine was first and foremost a novelist, he also received recognition for his contributions as a television reporter for The Spectator, as a film critic for the Daily Express, and as a book reviewer for The People. His only stage drama, The Desert in the Mirror (pr. 1951), was unsuccessful, but he won two national awards for British television adaptations of his novels: Man at the Top (1970, 1973) and Waiting for Sheila (1976). The seriousness of Braine’s concern with the general problems facing the novelist is clear in his two most significant nonfiction works: Writing a Novel (1974) and J. B. Priestley (1978). In the former, he establishes guidelines for the aspiring novelist and shows how a professional writer who cannot afford to make wrong decisions “manufactures books according both to British and American readers.” In the latter, Braine celebrates the life and career of a man to whom he felt closer than he did to “any other living writer.”