|Posted on March 20, 2016 at 9:30 AM|
When I was a child I couldn't relate to many books. Then I read The Blinder by Barry Hines and it just felt so real: washing your face in a sink filled with dishes, cold Yorkshire mornings, the comp and football. That book was the first to put in my head the idea I might try and write.
About 10 years ago when doing my MA at Manchester University I had to do a project and decided on "the life and works of Barry Hines." Having read all his novels - I also loved The Heart of It, and of course films such as Looks and Smiles and the harrowing Threads - I wrote and asked for an interview. To my amazement Barry invited me to his house in Sheffield for tea.
We chatted about books - his, those of other people - his work with Ken Loach, class and Yorkshire, and Barry offered me a couple of tips for my own writing - principally: the best way to represent a character's thoughts is through his actions. I never forgot it.
I was informed of Barry's illness soon after we met (by his brother Richard, now also a successful writer) and found it cruel that such a bright, intelligent man should be stricken by such a horrible disease. I'll always remember what a lovely man he was and what a fine writer. If you want to see what I mean, try A Kestrel for a Knave - and its flawless ending.
R.I.P. Barry Hines.