A Kestrel for a Knave is a novel by English author Barry Hines, published in 1968. Set in an unspecified mining area in Northern England, the book follows Billy Casper, a young working-class boy troubled at home and at school, who finds and trains a kestrel whom he names "Kes". The book received a wider audience when it was adapted into the film Kes in 1969; Hines wrote the screenplay with director Ken Loach (credited as Kenneth Loach) and producer Tony Garnett. The film adaptation has since become regarded as one of the greatest British films of all time.Today, the novel is often used in Key Stage 4 assessment in the United Kingdom, as part of GCSE English courses. The novel’s title is taken from a poem found in the Book of Saint Albans. In medieval England, the only bird a knave was legally allowed to keep was a kestrel.