Anthony McGowan, Guest Editor June 2015 chose A Kestrel for a Knave as one of his favourite short novels...."At 200 pages, this is rather long for a short novel, but I just couldn’t leave it out, as almost no other work of fiction has had such an impact on me. It’s the story of a day in the life of a working class kid, Billy Casper, whose only respite from a loveless home and a brutal school comes from caring for a Kestrel he has reared and trained. It’s a depressing book, full of violence and a grinding poverty, but it also has moments of quiet beauty. Dense with drama and incident, above all, it’s a book that just feels so utterly true."
Life is tough and cheerless for Billy Casper, a disillusioned teenager growing up in a small Yorkshire mining town. Violence is commonplace and he is frequently cold and hungry. Yet he is determined to be a survivor and when he finds Kes, a kestrel hawk he discovers a passion in life.