He attended Queen's College, Guyana, and the City College Of New York before joining the Royal Air Force as a fighter pilot. l Following the Second World War, Braithwaite attended Cambridge University, where he earned a bachelor's degree and a doctorate in physics.
l While writing To Sir, With Love, Braithwaite moved from teaching into social work, finding foster homes for non-white children for London County Council. His experiences here became the basis for a second novel, Paid Servant, which was published in 1962. A Kind Of Homecoming was published the same year, with Solid Lubricants And Surfaces following in 1964, and Choice Of Straws in 1965.
l In 1973, apartheid-era South Africa lifted its ban on his books, and, for a visit Braithwaite was given the status of 'honorary white'. This afforded him significant privileges compared to black South Africans, and Braithwaite recorded his experiences in his 1975 book, Honorary White.
l With further novels and short stories following, Braithwaite became an educational consultant for Unesco, permanent representative to the United Nations for Guyana, and Guyana's ambassador to Venezuela.
l As an academic, Braithwaite taught at New York University, and in 2002 was writer-in-residence at Howard University in Washington D.C. From 2005-6, Braithwaite was a visiting professor at Manchester Community College in Connecticut, where he received an honorary degree.
l Following the 2007 radio adaptation of To Sir, With Love, both Paid Servant and Choice of Straws were dramatised for Radio 4.