Barry Hines Project

The Barry Hines Project

Led by Dr David Forrest and Professor Sue Vice from the School of English, this research project explores the works of the South Yorkshire born writer Barry Hines. Hines wrote novels, short stories, radio plays, stage plays, films and television drama. His most famous works are undoubtedly the novel Kestrel for a Knave (filmed as Kes [Ken Loach, 1969]) and the dark, apocalyptic TV play Threads (Mick Jackson, 1984) which won best single drama at the 1985 BAFTAs, yet his oeuvre is rich and varied and contains a number of lesser-known, but equally fascinating works of fiction.

A number of dominant themes underpin Hines’s output on page and screen: education, youth, aspiration and mobility; work, labour and the manner in which the economy is experienced by working people, with a specific interest in coal mining and heavy industries; sport, specifically football as a site of working- class expression and individuality and as a space of commodification, with sport used to allegorically explore capitalist exploitation; and land and the landscape, with many of Hines’s works exploring the poetic potential of working class space, place and landscape, and the tension between the natural(animal) and technological world(s).

The project makes use of the Barry Hines archive, held at the University’s Special Collections in the university library. The archive is a rich resource that gives a number of insights into the creative processes of Hines’s composition. It contains his primary research, newspaper articles, ephemera, letters, notes on meetings and draft or annotated versions of finished texts, as well as unpublished or unperformed plays and screenplays.

Sue and David are currently working on the first critical monograph focussed on Hines, entitled Barry Hines and Working Class Fiction and Film (Manchester University Press). For further details of publications see here ( and here. (

The project team are open to working with potential partner organisations on initiatives of shared interest. Previous collaborations have involved work with local schools, particularly in relation to A Kestrel for a Knave, and we would be keen to develop further activities in this area.

For more details please contact Dr David Forrest ( and Professor Sue Vice (