The Descent of the Lyre review on

The Descent of the Lyre

There’s a wonderful new five star review of [amazon_link id=”9380905076″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]The Descent of the Lyre[/amazon_link] up on book review website,

“Seasoned with knowledge of philosophy and storytelling as well as a deft touch and lyrical beauty,” they say, “it feels totally original.”

You can read the full review here, and if you are convinced, you can [amazon_link id=”9380905076″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]buy a copy of the book[/amazon_link].

Utopia etc.

Utopia, edited by Ross Bradshaw

I was very pleased this morning to receive my contributor’s copy to the Five Leaves anthology on Utopia, a wonderful collection of essays on utopias, dystopias and everything in between, edited by Ross Bradshaw. You can get your copy from Inpress books. My own contribution is called ‘The Trouble with Happiness’ and is a more extended philosophical riff on the tale I alluded to in my [amazon_link id=”1848313624″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Introducing Happiness[/amazon_link] book, an encounter with the happiest man alive whilst working on a happiness research project in the city of Birmingham.

Do get hold of a copy of the book, or order it for your library, for tales of utopias from the local pub to Paraguay, from Wales to New Zealand, and from the graveyard of Moravia to the Big Rock Candy Mountain.

Boredom, Flow and the Eggs of Experience

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been engaged in the perhaps thankless task of trying to persuade my students of the virtues of boredom. This is not simply a way of finding an excuse for my occasional tendency to digress and head off on rambling philosophical excursions. It is instead something that is born out of my conviction that boredom is rather more important, and more central to the processes of learning, thinking and creation, than some might often like to admit. Read more

Bishop’s Snorghford?

Bishop Stortford College Festival Of Literature

It’s very nice to see that [amazon_link id=”1407116525″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]The Snorgh and the Sailor[/amazon_link] has been shortlisted for the Bishop’s Stortford Picture Book award. It’s on a shortlist of nine picture books, some of which I’m familiar with, and some of which I’m looking forward to reading.

The award will be made at the Bishop’s Stortford Literature Festival in February 2013, and it will be judged by the toughest of audiences: a popular vote amongst students from participating schools.

Find out more about the award here.

On Radio Bulgaria

The other week I had a fun phone call to Sofia, Bulgaria, where I chatted to Rossitsa Petcova about my novel, [amazon_link id=”9380905076″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]The Descent of the Lyre[/amazon_link]. Radio Bulgaria have now published the interview online, and you can have a listen by clicking here. Get yourself a cup of tea before the broadcast starts, as it’s a good half hour; but they’ve done a lovely job splicing together the readings, interview and some particularly wonderful Bulgarian music.

Mo Yan, Politics and Writing

Having heard this afternoon that Chinese novelist Mo Yan 莫言 had won the Nobel Prize, I thought that I would track down some of his work to have a quick read. I only know Mo Yan indirectly, through the film [amazon_link id=”B001BHTNAY” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Red Sorghum[/amazon_link], which was based upon one of his books, and for which he sold the rights for £80. This seemed not very much to go on, so by a bit of judicious rooting around online I managed to dig out a copy of his short story Soaring (翱翔) in both English and Chinese; and having picked my way through the story in the original, and then read it in English, I have to say that I was very impressed. It was an old-fashioned tale of village brutality combined with uncanny, unearthly happenings, the latter very much after the model of Mo Yan’s forebear in his home province of Shandong, the strange and wonderful seventeenth-to-eighteenth century writer [amazon_link id=”0140447407″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Pu Songling[/amazon_link]. The Nobel Committee called it “hallucinatory realism”, and it seems a fitting name for the genre. Read more

Existential Romps with Short Men

It’s now five years since my first novel, [amazon_link id=”0955138426″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Cargo Fever[/amazon_link], was published; and—now that my [amazon_link id=”9380905076″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]second novel[/amazon_link] has emerged out into the world—I can perhaps confess that the earlier book is one towards which I harbour both a kind of affection and also a kind of ambivalence. Affection, because I still love the characters, the setting, the strangeness of it all; and ambivalence, because I am still not sure how the book managed to find itself marketed, mistakenly I think, as an adventure yarn à la Wilbur Smith, when I’d always intended it to be more of an existential romp. But there is no shelf in the bookstore marked ‘existential romps’ (although if there were, the world, I feel, would be a better place), and so it has continued to sit on the shelves a little uneasily. Read more

UK Literacy Association Book Award

Just a quick post to say that I’m delighted to hear that [amazon_link id=”1407116525″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]The Snorgh and the Sailor[/amazon_link] has been long-listed for the UK Literacy Association Book Award.

Read the full announcement and download the long-list here. The shortlist will be drawn up in early 2013, and the award will be announced on July 5th 2013.

The Descent of the Lyre: GoodReads Giveaway

There are now two copies of [amazon_link id=”9380905076″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]The Descent of the Lyre[/amazon_link] up for grabs in this GoodReads giveaway. You have until the 4th November to sign up for your chance to win yourself a free copy. The Giveaway is open to Goodreads members from the UK, Canada, USA (the book is not due out in the US until 11 December, so you can sneak yourself an advance look if you win) and most European countries. Click the cover or the link below for a chance to win.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Descent of the Lyre by Will Buckingham

The Descent of the Lyre

by Will Buckingham

Giveaway ends November 04, 2012.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

The Snorgh Shortlisted for 2013 Coventry Inspiration Book Awards

Coventry Inspiration Book Award

I’m delighted to say that [amazon_link id=”1407116525″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]The Snorgh and the Sailor[/amazon_link] has been shortlisted for the Coventry Inspiration Book Awards, in the ‘What’s the Story?’ category. The award will be decided by public vote in a round of Big Brother-style (I think they mean the reality TV show, not the novel—or, I hope so at least) eliminations. So, if you know any avid young readers, do encourage them to go on over to the Coventry Inspiration Book Awards website, and to vote for their favourite book. You don’t need to be in Coventry to cast a vote!

There are some excellent books on the list, including Oliver Jeffers’ Stuck and John Fardell’s The Day Louis Got Eaten—it’s good to be in such august company. But I’m hoping that the gloomy be-trunked Snorgh, so beautifully brought to life by Thomas Docherty, will stoically drag his bathtub down to the ocean and, the wind ruffling his damp fur, set forth for success.


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