Barry Hines dies

Barry Hines dies

Barry Hines, author of 1968 novel A Kestrel for a Knave (Penguin Modern Classics), has died aged 76.

The news of the author’s death was broken by poet Ian McMillan on Twitter yesterday (20th March).

Hines was born in 1939 in the small mining village of Hoyland Common outside Barnsley in South Yorkshire. The writer was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2009.

Hines' wrote nine novels during a writing career that spanned almost 50 years. He wrote his second novel, A Kestrel for a Knave, about a young boy who escapes his troubled school life by training a kestrel in 1968. It was adapted for the highly-acclaimed Ken Loach film "Kes", a year later.

The story, about the working-class teenager Billy Casper and his relationship with his pet kestrel, was inspired by Hines' younger brother Richard's experiences. Richard Hines' memoir about the experience titled No Way But Gentlenesse was recently published by Bloomsbury.

Tony Garnett, film and TV Producer, said in Hines' Guardian obituary: "Barry was an angry man with a sweet nature. He was loyal. His blue eyes were like shining lamps: you could see into them, they shone out at you, assuming your honesty. He was without guile and only ever wrote about what he knew. Through the characters he created, he became the voice of his community. What they thought of his work in South Yorkshire was more important to him than any London critic’s opinion."

Barry Hines' first novel, The Blinder, was published in 1966 by Penguin. His last novel was called This Artistic Life and was published by Pomona Press in 2009.