Barry Hines

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Melvin Barry Hines, FRSL (born 30 June 1939) is a British author who has written several popular novels and television scripts.[1] Hines is best known for the novel A Kestrel for a Knave (1968), which he adapted for Ken Loach's 1969 film Kes.

Early life[edit]

Born in the mining village of Hoyland Common near Barnsley, England, he attended Ecclesfield Grammar School and played football for the England Grammar Schools team.[2] After leaving school without any qualifications he first worked for the National Coal Board as an apprentice mining surveyor at Rockingham Colliery.[3] A neighbour that he chanced to meet at the coal face disapproved of his failure to meet his potential and Hines has said that this was when he decided to return to school to take his examinations.[3][4] He achieved four A levels, and then studied for a teaching qualification at Loughborough University.[2][4] He worked as a Physical Education teacher for several years, first for two years in a London comprehensive school, and subsequently at Longcar Central School Barnsley, where he wrote novels in the school library after the children had gone home.[2][3] He later became a full-time author.[3]


Hines is best known for the novel A Kestrel for a Knave (1968), which was adapted by the author for the film version Kes (1969), which was directed by Ken Loach. The story is that of a troubled schoolboy living in a mining village near Barnsley who finds comfort in tending a kestrel hawk named 'Kes'. Threads (1984), for which Hines wrote the script, is a speculative television drama examining the effects of nuclear war on Sheffield.


Hines' film Looks and Smiles (dir. Ken Loach) won the Best Contemporary Screenplay prize at the 1981 Cannes Film Festival. Threads won a special award at the 1985 Monte-Carlo Television Festival, the Broadcasting Press Guild Award in 1985 for Best Single Drama, and was nominated for seven different awards in the 1985 BAFTA Awards.[2] Hines has been made an Honorary Fellow of University of Sheffield.[5]



  • The Blinder (1966)
  • A Kestrel for a Knave (1968) (later filmed as Kes)
  • First Signs (1972)
  • The Gamekeeper (1975) (later made into a film of the same name)
  • Looks and Smiles (1981)
  • Unfinished Business (1983)
  • The Heart of It (1994)
  • Elvis over England (2000)
  • This Artistic Life (2009)

Radio and television[edit]

  • Billy's Last Stand (1970)
  • Speech Day (1972)
  • Two Men From Derby (1976)
  • The Price of Coal (1977)
  • Threads (1984)
  • Born Kicking (1992)



  1. ^ "Barry Hines: Biography". Debrett's. Retrieved 29 July 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Author Biography: Barry Hines". Pomona Books. Hebden Bridge. Retrieved 29 July 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c d Benson, Richard (4 December 2005). "When we were heroes". The Observer (London). Retrieved 29 July 2011. 
  4. ^ a b "Barry Hines". BBC (Sheffield and South Yorkshire). 11 October 2007. Retrieved 29 July 2011. 
  5. ^ "Heptathlete Jessica Ennis receives honorary degree". BBC News. 14 January 2010. Retrieved 29 July 2011.