Highbrow Philosophy!

I’m delighted to announce that my introductory philosophy course, “What Is Wisdom: An Introduction To Philosophy”, has just been launched over on Highbrow. It’s a ten-day email course which covers a whole range of philosophers — Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Epicurus, Epictetus, Confucius, Zhuangzi and the Buddha. The course explores what the philosophers have said about what wisdom is or might be. Visit Highbrow’s website to find out more.

You may have looked at the names above and thought that there is a suspiciously high number of Persons With Beards on the list. This will be remedied in my next Highbrow course on Women Philosophers, which is currently work-in-progress. But when it comes out it will be guaranteed 100% beard-free.

The Rocket Dog is Launched!

Today is the official launch date for Lucy and the Rocket Dog. 🚀🐶🎈🎊🎉

I’m not going to beat around the bush here. I think it would be an excellent thing if you all went and bought a copy.

If you like any of the following, there’s a chance you’ll like it: space, rockets, dogs, space-dogs, space-rabbits, love stories, Einstein, time dilation, girl scientists, jokes about philosophers, and unexpectedly happy endings.

This page has links for you to buy from evil and non-evil outlets, in the UK and US, according to your preference.

Forthcoming – Stealing with the Eyes

I’m delighted to be able to announce that my anthropological-memoir-of-sorts, Stealing with the Eyes, is due to out from Haus Publishing next year. It is a tale of possession, exorcism, gods, ancestors, anthropologists and unpaid debts, drawing upon the research I did into the wood-carving industry a quarter of a century ago (!) in the Tanimbar islands of Indonesia. I’ll post more closer to the time. The title, incidentally, comes from the Indonesian curi mata — a nicely succinct summation of the anthropological enterprise that was put to me by one of my Indonesian friends…

Ready for Lift-Off (and a review)

I’m very excited that my middle-grade novel, Lucy and the Rocket Dog is on the launchpad, and almost ready for lift-off. The launch date in the US is 15th August. It should also be available in the UK from around then, although a UK edition (with ‘Mom’ duly replaced by ‘Mum’, and any sidewalks — if there are any — converted into pavements) may be a little way off.

There’s a nice advance review on Lisa Maucione’s Literacy on the Mind blog. I’ll post more reviews as they appear.

Glitches and Gremlins

WillBuckingham.com has been down for a few days, due to a twitchy problem with the configuration of the server. It is now back up and running, so apologies for any interruption of service.

I’m hoping in the next couple of months to give this website a bit of extra love and some much-needed updates. Things are busy over here in Yangon, and internet is less reliable than I would like, so I’m a bit behind. But hopefully the gremlins, demons, bugs and glitches from the last few days will remain squashed.

Lucy and the Rocket Dog — Coming Soon!

The advance reader’s copies of my children’s novel, Lucy and the Rocket Dog arrived in the post this morning, with illustrations by the exceptionally talented Monica Arnaldo, and they look absolutely stunning. The book is about a girl scientist, her dog, the theory of relativity, time dilation, space worms, friendship, loss and the here, there and everywhereness of space. It is due to be published by Knopf in the USA in the summer of 2017.

The Snorgh in Chinese and Turkish

Last night, I stumbled across the Chinese edition of The Snorgh and the Sailor, and I was delighted to see what they’d done with the book. The title in Chinese is 长鼻子冒险家和长耳朵冒险家, or “Long Nose the Adventurer, and Long Ears the Adventurer”. I was wondering what the Chinese translators would do with “Snorgh”, and I think that “Long Nose” is an admirable solution. The cover text is nice as well, with the long nose and ears integrated into the Chinese character for “long” (click the image above to get the full-sized cover). Very clever! And to my surprise, the format is taller than it is wide, so I’ll be interested to get my hands on a copy to see how they have worked on the page layout.

As I am no longer in China, I like to imagine that Long Nose and Long Ears can act as ambassadors on my behalf. I’ll be following their activities closely. There’s a nice review of the Chinese edition here.

Meanwhile, over in Turkey, my wonderful publishers over there, Büyülü Fener, have let me know that their Turkish Snorghs have arrived in the office, and apparently the book is looking good. The Turkish title is Şnörk ve Denizci.

Book Review: The Snorgh and the Sailor at Christmas

So there I was, warming my toes by the fire in my little house, listening to the howl of the wind, when there was a knock, knock, knock! on the door. I put down my pen and went over to see who it was. ‘Writers don’t like visitors,’ I muttered to myself. ‘Particularly not when they are busy writing.’

But when I opened the door, I found it wasn’t a visitor. Instead it was the postman. And the postman handed me an envelope. I took the envelope and closed the door, then I went back to sit on my chair by the fire.

I opened the envelope and pulled out a book. And it was not just any old book. Instead it was a copy of the newly published picture book, ‘The Snorgh and the Sailor at Christmas’, a sequel to ‘The Snorgh and the Sailor.’

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There was a letter inside the envelope too, that said the book was written and illustrated by the amazingly talented members of class Primary 4D, from the Riverside Primary School in Falkirk. I looked at the map. The book had come a long way: miles and miles and miles, all the way from Scotland. I hadn’t realised that the Snorgh had travelled so far away.

The cover of this new book looked promising. It made me want to read on. So I opened up the book and discovered that since I’d last seen him, the Snorgh had come home from his adventures with the Sailor, and was living once again in his ugly little house. But the pictures also made me sad, because it was winter, and the Snorgh’s marsh looked very cold, and his nose was very red.

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Then I remembered that it was a couple of years since I had last called on the Snorgh, and I wondered how he was doing. I felt a bit guilty that I hadn’t gone to visit him for a while, and decided that I would do so this summer, when the weather was warmer.

I read on, and found that—to my dismay—the Snorgh seemed to have become even older and grumpier since I’d last seen him. But just as I was feeling very sorry for him, and wondering where the Sailor had gone, I turned the page, and there was a ‘Ho! Ho! Ho!’ at the Snorgh’s door.

It was the Sailor, back from his adventures. And I was surprised to find that he’d got himself a job since I last met him, delivering presents for Santa. He even had a proper Santa-hat and everything. But he’d clearly he’d bitten off more than he could chew and needed some help.

So the Snorgh and the Sailor set off again on another Great Journey, delivering presents for Christmas. And I’m not going to tell you exactly what happened, because that would ruin the surprise. But ‘The Snorgh and the Sailor at Christmas’ is a great sequel. It is exciting and funny and just a little bit sad, at least on the page where the Snorgh is lonely and has a very cold, red nose. And when you come to the end of the book, you will smile. Which means, in my opinion, that it must be a very good book indeed.

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All pictures © Class 4D, Riverside Primary School, Falkirk

PS You can buy the original Snorgh book here. I wrote it a few years back, and the great Thomas Docherty drew the pictures.

“Lucy and the Rocket Dog” in Turkish

I’ve not posted here for a while, as I’ve been busy settling into life here in China, where I’m currently spending a year at Sichuan University. But I thought I should post this beautiful image of some of the illustrations from the now imminent Turkish version of my novel “Lucy and the Rocket Dog” (translated as Lucy ve Laika). The illustrations are by the extraordinarily talented Oğuz Demir, who has captured the spirit of the book perfectly. The book is about space dogs, the theory of relativity, friendship, and science.

Readers who don’t speak Turkish (like me!) will have to wait until 2017 to read the English version, which is due out from Knopf in New York. But if you know Turkish, then you can get hold of a copy of the book soon at your favourite local bookstore!

Goats, Blogs and Chinese Travels

It has been very busy recently, with moving house back home in the UK, and then — only a few days later — relocating to China for a year. I’m here in China to take up an associate professorship at Sichuan University, in the College of Literature and Journalism. About which more below.

But first, I should say something about goats! Because I’m delighted to say that my author copies of Goat Music, my latest novel, arrived today in the UK. They are four thousand or so miles away, and so I haven’t really had much of a chance to look at them yet. But from the photograph below, courtesy of Elee Kirk, they are looking good.

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Goat Music is a bit of a departure from my usual work. It is an attempt to write a kind of modern-day satyr play, taking up the myth of Apollo and the satyr Marsyas, as well as pillaging the ancient Greek playwrights, to weave a tale about music, power and its abuses. In this sense, it forms a pair with my earlier book, The Descent of the Lyre, although the sensibility is somewhat different. In the UK, you can get hold of a copy here. It’s on general release, so should be easy to track down. I’d be interested to see what people make of this one, as it’s by any measure quite a curious book.
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