The Barnsley writer behind A Kestrel for a Knave, Barry Hines, has died aged 76, it was announced today.
The news was announced on Twitter by the poet Ian McMillan and subsequently confirmed by a friend of the author this morning.
He said on Twitter: "Very sad news: the great writer Barry Hines, creator of Barnsley’s defining myth A Kestrel For A Knave, has died. Rest in peace.’
Barry's first novel, The Blinder, was written at Loughborough University and finished while he worked as a teacher. Published in 1966, it was followed two years later by the novel which marked the arrival of a distinctive new voice and a writer who would tell the stories of those who could not speak for themselves, A Kestrel For A Knave, which is about a young working-class boy named Billy who finds and trains a kestrel.
Ken Loach turned it into the film Kes in 1969. Barry Hines went on to write novels including The Price of Coal in 1979 and Unfinished Business in 1983. His 1984 screenplay Threads, about the aftermath of a nuclear war, saw him nominated for a second BAFTA, following a nomination for Kes.
Our sister title, The Yorkshire Post, reported that Barry had been diagnosed with Alzheimers seven years ago.
Speaking on life with the condition, Barry said in 2009: He loses his thread and wants to explain what that's like. "I lose it. We'll be talking and then suddenly it just goes. But it doesn't worry me. Ten years ago I'd have gone 'Oh I want to die,' but I just get on with it. Most things I can do. I'm okay, I'm all right."