'Kes' writer Barry Hines dies in Britain

20th March 2016, Comments 0 comments

Author Barry Hines, whose novel "A Kestrel For A Knave" captured the spirit of 1960s British working-class youth and was the basis for Ken Loach's award-winning film "Kes", has died, friends said Sunday.

"Very sad news: the great writer Barry Hines, creator of Barnsley's defining myth A Kestrel For A Knave, has died. Rest in peace," poet Ian McMillan, who shared a publisher with Hines, wrote on Twitter.

Mark Hodkinson, founder of Hines's publishers Pomona, confirmed the author's death aged 76 in an obituary for the Guardian newspaper. He was reportedly diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in recent years.

Published in 1968, Hines's most famous book is a work of social realism which tells the story of Billy Casper, a boy who escapes his troubled life by training a kestrel.

His brother Richard recently published a memoir which detailed how he had been a teenage falconer and had inspired his brother's work.

Hines was born in 1939 in a northern English pit village near Barnsley, South Yorkshire, the son of a miner.

He worked briefly as a teacher before the first of his books, "The Blinder", was published in 1966.

"A Kestrel For A Knave" followed two years later. In 1969, Hines helped write the screenplay for "Kes", the film directed by Loach which was based on the book. The film won two BAFTA awards.

Fellow writers paid tribute to Hines on Twitter. "Chocolat" author Joanne Harris said: "I hated and loved him at the same time - for writing the world I saw every day, and for giving me hope to escape it..."

Jonathan Coe added that "A Kestrel For A Knave" had left "an indelible mark on all who read it".

Hines's other work included 1984's "Threads", a terrifying TV film which envisioned the impact of a Cold War nuclear attack on the northern English city of Sheffield.


© 2016 AFP

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