Barry Hines

Kes, Threads and beyond

Authors: David Forrest and Sue Vice

The importance of environment in Barry Hines's writing means that insight into his background and the journey to his writing career introduces people to the recurrent preoccupations of his work. Much of the literary reception of Hines's work places him within a canon of working-class writing. This book is the first academic account of Barry Hines's work. It traces the roots of Barry Hines's literary mode of poetic realism in those works of the 1960s that preceded A Kestrel for a Knave. The literary promise Hines showed in The Blinder led to the filming of his novel A Kestrel for a Knave as Kes. The book focuses on a period of extremely fruitful aesthetic production for Hines. It also traces the aesthetic and political effects of the early years of Margaret Thatcher's Conservative government on Hines's writing. The archival history of Threads' drafts and production reveals the nature of its symbolic and factual relation to British politics in this era and how its mingling of documentary and dramatic tropes took shape. Looks and Smiles marked the end of Barry Hines's career-defining collaboration with Ken Loach. The exceptionally divisive events of the miners' strike of 1984-1985 had an acute effect on Hines's writing, just as they did on the terrain and communities of the South Yorkshire that he invariably depicts. The book explores the interconnected issues of class, space and place in Hines's writing, and the practice and purpose of working-class film, television and literature.

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