With prose that is every bit as raw, intense and bitingly honest as the world it depicts, Barry Hines’s A Kestrel for a Knave contains a new afterword by the author in Penguin Modern Classics. Life is tough and cheerless for Billy Casper, a troubled teenager growing up in the small Yorkshire mining town of Barnsley. Treated as a failure at school, and unhappy at home, Billy discovers a new passion in life when he finds Kes, a kestrel hawk.
Billy identifies with her silent strength and she inspires in him the trust and love that nothing else can, discovering through her the passion missing from his life. Barry Hines’s acclaimed novel continues to reach new generations of teenagers and adults with its powerful story of survival in a tough, joyless world. Ken Loach’s renowned film adaptation, Kes, has achieved cult status and in his new afterword Barry Hines discusses his work to adapt the novel into a screenplay, and reappraises the legacy of a book that has become a popular classic.
Barry Hines (b. 1939) was born in the mining village of Hoyland Common, near Barnsley, South Yorkshire. Leaving Ecclesfield Grammar School without any qualifications, Hines worked as an apprentice mining surveyor for the National Coal Board before entering Loughborough Training College to study Physical Education.
Working as a teacher in Hoyland Common, he wrote novels in the school library after work, later turning to writing full-time. If you enjoyed A Kestrel for a Knave, you might like The Call of the Wild, White Fang, and Other Stories by Jack London, published in Penguin Classics.