• Jobseekers Annoyance

    by Aaron Tingz, Thud Dub Books

    Aaron Tingz a.k.a Mark Mace Smith wrote Jobseeker's Annoyance in 2003, and it is part diary, part open letter describing what he experienced during one month when he tried to transfer his benefit claim.  The events at his local b'roo are quite normal and yet by describing them Aaron Tingz shares a kind of surreal nightmare that many claimants experience and can do little about.
    Jobseeker's Annoyance is uniquely funny with a wit all its own.  It's not an attack on the benefits system but it does single out one particular Job Centre and rather than naming the staff who seem typically ignorant of the service's systems and procedures, Aaron Tingz gives them all the name of the Job Centre's area manager - Birnie.
  • The Albatross by Susan Hill

    susan hill the albatross

    The novella isn’t a hard form for writers to crack, but it seems that publishers haven’t ever got it.  As for readers, I am not sure.  I’ve certainly never heard any complaints that there is something inherently wrong with the form of the novella, but yet authors to this day can expect a shudder of dread rippling across their publisher’s offices if they happen to breathe the word out loud. I'm sure that didn't happen in the case of The Albatross by Susan Hill, but you do never know.

    I’ve always assumed that this doubt concerning the novella was to do with money.  It simply isn’t much cheaper to produce a short book, than it is to produce a longer one, and so we do tend to find the shelves stocked with full length fiction, despite the often irresistible nature of the novella form.