Painting Her to My Own Mind

A year or so back, I was invited by the Laurence Sterne Trust to contribute to their exhibition Paint Her to Your Own Mind, an exhibition with 147 artists and writers all contributing their visions of the ravishing Widow Wadman to fill the blank page left by Laurence Sterne in Tristram Shandy. As an ex art student in long-term recovery, it was something of a challenge. But I was pretty pleased with the result.

So here, just for the record, is my collage of the lovely Widow Wadman. The references to ballistics should be obvious for anybody who has read the book. The eye is borrowed from a Scottish widow. And I’ve gratuitously snuck in the 54th hexagram of the Yijing (歸妹 or ‘marrying maiden’) as well.

Painter Her to Your Own Mind

A Decade of Books in Emojis

This year marks a decade since the publication of my first book, Cargo Fever. As it is a Sunday morning, and I have nothing else to do, I thought I would mark the occasion by translating the titles of all my books into emoji. I’ve included my forthcoming books (😱🏦🔫) ➕👀 and Elee Kirk’s 📸🏛💭 on the list as well, for the sake of completeness.

I’m working on translating the content in the same way, but this will take a while. But in the mean time, here are the titles.

(🚢📦) 🤒 (2007) Cargo Fever
🕵🏼‍♀️🌊👯‍♀️ (2009) Finding Our Sea-Legs: Ethics, Experience and the Ocean of Stories

(👃🏼😠🛁)➕(🐰⚓) (2012) The Snorgh and the Sailor

(🇧🇬👼🏼➕🎸) → 🇫🇷 (2012) The Descent of the Lyre

(🛠🗺😀):(🤔🌊)➕🌱 (2012) A Practical Guide to Happiness: Think Deeply and Flourish

(🇱🇹🤔),(📖🔈)➕(📖🔇) (2013) Levinas, Storytelling and Anti-Storytelling

(👩🏽‍🎓🔄): 🌎✒📔 (2014) Teach Yourself: Complete Write a Novel

🐐🎼 (2015) Goat Music

64🎲🍕:📕🔄 (2015) Sixty-Four Chance Pieces: A Book of Changes

👧🏽➕(🚀🐶 ) (2017) Lucy and the Rocket Dog


(😱🏦🔫) ➕👀 (2018) Stealing With the Eyes

📸🏛💭 (with Elee Kirk, 2018) Snapshots of Museum Experience

Snapshots of Museum Experience: Due out in July

I’m very pleased to say that Elee Kirk‘s monograph, Snapshots of Museum Experience: Understanding Child Visitors Through Photography will be published by Routledge in July this year. The book is drawn from Elee’s PhD thesis, and from the book outline that she and I agreed upon before her death in 2016.

Over the last year, I have been wrangling it into book shape, and it has been a strange, fascinating and sometimes painful, collaboration, but I’m pleased with the final result, and I think that Elee would be too (even if this is not quite the same book that she would have written alone).

The book is coming out first in hardback, but there will be a paperback edition to follow which should be more affordable. I hope that the final book does her work justice. Here’s a bit of the blurb:

Children are one of the major audiences for museums, but their visits are often seen solely from the point of view of museum learning. In Snapshots of Museum Experience, Will Buckingham draws upon Elee Kirk’s research amongst child visitors to the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, to take a different approach. Using a method of photo-elicitation with four- and five-year-old child visitors to the museum, the book investigates children’s experience of the museum, and in the process undermines many of our assumptions about the interests, needs and demands of child museum visitors.

Tanimbar Islands Website

Recently, I’ve been working through the final proofs of my travel memoir, Stealing With the Eyes: Imaginings and Incantations in Indonesia, and the book is coming out from Haus Publishing in a couple of months’ time. But I’ve also been taking time out from proof-reading to re-build from scratch my website about the Tanimbar islands,

I set up the website long before I planned to write the memoir, as a way of sharing the research report that I wrote in Tanimbar back in 1995. There’s not much information out there on Tanimbar, so it seemed a shame to let the work go to waste and leave it mouldering in a drawer. Occasionally, thanks to the site, I’ve received messages from people who I knew in Tanimbar in the 90s, or who are Tanimbarese, or who have other connections with the islands. And it has been very good to maintain this connection. But I think I first built the website some time in 2006; so twelve years on, it was in bad need of a facelift. The old site was cramped, hard to update, and the design a bit murky.

The original site was built using Textpattern (a fine piece of software, although I rarely use it these days). As a part of the refresh, I’ve migrated the whole thing to WordPress, updated the images, and given it a bit of a smarter look. Now that it is easier to edit and update, I’ll continue to add to it from time to time.

The link to the website is HERE.

Sneak Preview of Stealing With the Eyes

I’ve just finished the final edits for travel memoir, “Stealing With the Eyes“, and the book is coming out from Haus Publishing in May 2018. I thought that in advance of the publication, I should post a a sneak preview of some of the images from the book over on my Wayward Philosophy blog. There are some images of the sculptors that I met in the Tanimbar islands, as well as of the work that they produced. Head over there to take a look!

Lucy and the Rocket Dog on LITA Notable Books List


It’s the year of dog, and I’m delighted to be kicking of the Chinese new year with some excellent news about my book Lucy and the Rocket Dog, which has been shortlisted on the LITA Excellence in Children’s and Young Adult Science Fiction Notable Lists. Now would be a good time to buy a copy for the small scientist in your life. Or for your dog, as a cautionary tale.

You can read the full list here and find out more about the other shortlisted books.

Stealing with the Eyes – out in May 2018

I’m very pleased to see the cover of Stealing with the Eyes, my memoir of anthropology and Indonesia, due out from Haus Publishing in 2018.

The cover image is a photograph I took of Saumlaki harbour in Tanimbar back in 1994. I dug it out of a shoebox and scanned the transparency.

Stealing with the Eyes
Stealing with the Eyes

I’ll say more about the book closer to the publication date. I’ve set up a page for it on this website, although it is currently a bit skeletal. The book is also available for pre-order, including from Amazon.

More thoughts on killing

As promised, I’ve just posted the (lightly edited) text of what I was talking about last night at the Cambridge Union, over on my Wayward Philosophy blog. It is about killing, and Levinas, and uncertainty, and ambivalence. I was uncomfortably aware last night that ambivalence is not a strong position to take when engaging in debates of this kind; but then I’m pretty uneasy with strong ethical positions — for reasons that should be clear in the piece.

Read the whole thing here.

Thinking about Killing – at Cambridge Union

This evening, I’m heading to Cambridge where I’m taking part in a Cambridge Union debate on the motion ‘This House Would Kill One to Save Many’. Also debating are Professor Julian Savulescu from the University of Oxford, the prolific philosopher, writer and podcaster Nigel Warbuton, Professor Alexandra Tanensini from Cardiff, Charlotte Knowles from Birbeck, and Lucy Yu, who is head of innovation and New Mobility Services at the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (and who, I imagine, has a professional interest in the problems of speeding vehicles and imperilled members of the public that most of us do not).

It should be a fun and interesting evening, although I’m hoping that we won’t spend the entire evening talking about the famous trolley problem. I have to confess in advance that I don’t really know whether I would or wouldn’t kill one to save many. Nor am I wholly convinced that the debate format is much more than a weird form of entertainment. But hopefully it will be possible to derail things for long enough to allow in some interesting thoughts.

Anyway, I’ll post something about it all after the event over on my (currently rather inactive) Wayward Philosophy blog, and link to it from here.

Now Represented by C+W

I’m very pleased to have found myself a new agent at C+W, where I will be represented by the excellent Emma Fine. I’m very much looking forward to getting started on work with Emma on two non-fiction projects that have been in the works for a long time: one big, single-themed project that ranges across anthropology, philosophy, literature, history and other such things, and also a memoir with Chinese characteristics or 中国特色 (as they say in the PRC). Or at least with Chinese philosophical characteristics. I’ll post more news about both of these projects once they are up and running.

The link to my bio page on C+W’s website is here.


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