Multi-award winning novelist and screenwriter Kieran Henderson, who last year became the first author to win an Oscar for writing the screenplay to his own Booker-winning novel, has shocked the literary establishment by announcing that he is to put his pen away in order to create spreadsheets and do appraisals for people he hates.
Henderson is said to have worked on his writing for sixteen hours a day for nearly three decades before attaining his widely acknowledged status as the outstanding British writer of his generation. Though puzzling to many, Henderson has revealed that his decision to give up the day job for a day job was inspired by the plethora of interactive television talent shows.
‘You see these people on the telly – they’ve got a modicum of ability. They devote twenty minutes a fortnight to becoming a marginally better singer than a tone-deaf drunk at a karaoke night,’ he said. ‘Or one evening every other month they whip up a celeriac and polenta jus for a dinner party and then, bang! – they’re Christmas Number One, or they’ve got a gig in a Michelin-starred restaurant. Why work hard at something you’re good at when anything is possible if you have no time or talent?’
The question many are asking, though, is why middle management? Close friend and fellow novelist Salman Rushdie says that the choice is not as odd as many are suggesting.
‘The world is full of brilliant novelists, but how many truly great middle managers can you name? Kieran has come to realise that genius in combination with lifelong devotion to your craft is no substitute for being mediocre and having an overblown sense of your ability. He’s got absolutely no aptitude for middle management, but with the odd evening every six months set aside for a pointless, jargon-fuelled meeting or an afternoon here and there spent ordering a special keyboard from HR for one of his team, Kieran could become a first-rate lame-ass bureaucrat.’