I see myself primarily as a writer, and I have some questions about the applicability of the notion of ‘research’ to the two domains in which I work — mainly fiction and philosophy. The reason for this is that, in current parlance, research designates both a process and an end-product that doesn’t particularly well fit what goes on when I write. Perhaps, then, it might better to talk about my interests rather than my research.
My interests lie, broadly, in the intersection between stories and philosophies. I take a literary approach to philosophy and a philosophical approach to storytelling. I see both as essentially exploratory activities that seek to trace the often tangled threads of human experience. The tabs below give information on some of my more specific areas of interest and research projects.
My areas of interest include the following:
- Phenomenology, in particular Emmanuel Levinas and Martin Heidegger
- Buddhist thought
- Philosophy as practice
- China and Chinese thought
- Comparative philosophy
- Creative Writing
I’m involved in a number of on-going research projects. These include:
- Creative writing outside of English/English literature traditions
- Work towards a book on ethics and “philosophy as a way of life” in cross-cultural perspective
- A novel project based on the Yijing 易經 or Book of Changes
- A project exploring creative writing and art practice at Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Nantes Métropole, France
- A further novel extending my work on music and myth in The Descent of the Lyre
In the summer of 2010, I was awarded a British Academy small research grant to travel to China, where I visited a number of universities (Shandong, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou), as well as historical sites, temples and out-of-the-way towns, scouting out stories my novel based on the Yijing 易經. Sections of this novel have already been published in a number of journals and small press publications such as The Packingtown Review, Interpreter’s House Magazine, New Writing: A Journal of the Theory and Practice of Creative Writing and The Frogmore Papers.
In 2007, I was awarded an Arts Council grant for research towards my novel The Descent of the Lyre in Bulgaria, Vienna and Paris. The novel is now published by Roman Books (2012).
The following list is of some of my publications in journals, books and articles.
(Academic books and articles, fiction, non-fiction and poetry)
Levinas, Storytelling and Anti-Storytelling: philosophy/literature/narrative theory book. Continuum. 2013.
‘Feral’: short story, Extra Shot Magazine 1.
‘The Lady Empress’: short story, Brittle Star Magazine 30.
Review of ‘How to Stop Living and Start Worrying’ by Simon Critchley: review, Philosophy in Review.
‘The Lake’: short story,Overheard: Stories for Reading Aloud ed. Jonathan Taylor. Salt Books. 2012.
‘Love and Friendship at the End of the World: The Apocalypse Comes to Moominvalley’: academic paper, EnterText journal special issue on the apocalypse and its discontents.
‘The Trouble With Happiness’: creative non-fiction article, Five Leaves Anthology ed. Ross Bradshaw. Five Leaves Books. 2012.
The Snorgh and the Sailor. Children’s book (with illustrator Thomas Docherty). Alison Green Books / Scholastic. with co-editions in Finnish and German.
The Descent of the Lyre: novel. Roman Books. 2012.
‘What the Snorgh Taught me About Emmanuel Levinas’: academic article, forthcoming in Interdisciplinary Humanities, April 2012.
‘Biting Through’ and ‘Cart or Horse?’: Short stories, Necessary Fiction magazine.
‘How Many Things?’: short story, The Frogmore Papers. March 2012.
‘Precious Treasure Chicken’: creative non-fiction article, The Lowestoft Chronicle 2012 Anthology edited by Nicholas Litchfield. ISBN 978-0-9825365-3-7
‘George’s Devil’: short story, Necessary Fiction. January 2012.
Introducing Happiness: A Practical Guide: Philosophy book, Icon Books. Jan 2012 with co-edition published by Totem Books in the USA (June 2012).
“Storytelling the Yijing: Tales and Reflections on a Chinese Literature Machine”: academic article, New Writing: The International Journal for the Theory and Practice of Creative
Writing. Dec. 2011 DOI:10.1080/14790726.2011.630090
‘The Eternal Stew’: short story in Interpreters House Magazine. 39 . 2011
‘The Modern World 1900-1950’ and ‘Contemporary Philosophy 1950-Present’: book chapters, The Philosophy Book by Dorling Kindersley. Also translated into German, French,
Finnish, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and Japanese. ISBN 9781405353298
‘Three Cups: The Anatomy of a Wasted Afternoon’: book chapter, CoffeePhilosophy: Grounds for Debate. Blackwell/Wiley, 2011.
‘The Full Wellcome’: short story, Hearing Voices Magazine volume 1, 2011
‘The Cauldron’: short story,The Interpreter’s House Magazine vol 28. 2011
‘How the Revolution Began’: short story, Necessary Fiction 2010.
‘Microtheology’: short story. Spilt Milk Magazine. 2010.
Finding Our Sea-Legs: Ethics, Experience and the Ocean of Stories: Philosophy book, KingstonUniversity Press, 2009.
‘October Love Failure’: poem. Anon Magazine Issue 6, Autumn 2009.
‘The Cavarello Assault’: short story, The Packington Review Issue 1.
Review of ‘The Intelligibility of Nature’. Metapsychology Online
Review of ‘Defining Right and Wrong in Brain Science: Essential Readings in Neuroethics’ by Walter Glannon. Metapsychology Online.
Review of ‘Empty Persons:Personal Identity and Buddhist Philosophy’. Contemporary Buddhism, 2009.
Review of ‘Buddhist Scriptures as Literature’ by Ralph Flores. The Western Buddhist Reivew.
‘Already Across’ and ‘Fellowship With Men’: short stories, written for and performed on internet radio station, Radio Wildfire. July 2008.
The Philosopher: short story commissioned by BBC Radio4. Broadcast March 24, 2008.
‘All at Sea: Buddhism and the Uses of Uncertainty.’ The Pragmatic Buddhist, Vol II, No. 2. July 2008.
Review of ‘On Desire’ by William Braxton Irvine. Metapsychology Online. May
Cargo Fever: novel, Tindal Street Press.
‘The Whole Fruit’: short story, Raw Edge Magazine.
Editor of ‘Perfectly Formed’, Birmingham Words pamphlet. October 2007.
Reviews of ‘The Sea’ by John Banville and ‘Falling Through the Earth’ by Danielle Trussoni. Aesthetica Magazine. 2007.
Editor of ‘Ornithology’, Birmingham Words pamphlet. March 2007.
Review of ‘Buddhist Inclusivism: Attitudes Towards Religious Others’ by Kristin Kiblinger. Contemporary Buddhism, Vol 7, No. 2. 2006.
Editor with Alan Summers and Roger Brown of of ‘The Poetic Image’, Birmingham Words haiku and photography pamphlet. May 2006.
Review of ‘For More than One Voice’ by Adriana Cavarero. Philosophy in Review XXVI No. 3. 2006.
‘Walter Benjamin, Religion and Aesthetics.’ Journal of Cultural and Religious Theory. Vol 8 No. 1. 2006.
Review of ‘Rule of the Bone’ by Russell Banks. Aesthetica Magazine No. 15. 2006.
‘But its Not Proper Publishing, is it?’: article, Aesthetica Magazine. 2006.
‘Building an Online Literary Community.’ Raw Edge Magazine. 2006.
The following list gives some of the conferences I have attended over the previous few years.
Literature as Spirit-Wandering: Advice for Writers and Travellers from 6th Century China. At Woodbrooke Borders and Crossings: Interdisciplinary Conference on Travel and Writing. July 2012.
The Yijing as Literature Machine, Canadian Creative Writers and Writing Programs Conference, Toronto. May 2012.
Invisible Museums: Calvino and the Museum as Private Utopia, Leicester University Museum Utopias conference, with Elee Kirk. March 2012.
The Snorgh and Levinas: Two Stories about Strangers. Cambridge University conference for The Child and the Book. March 2012.
Philosophies and Stories: a workshop. Invited workshop at Cambridge University conference for The Child and the Book. March 2012.
Reading at the Sheffield Hallam University conference, The Singer Not the Song,
‘Love and Friendship at the End of the World.’ The Apocalypse and its Discontents.Westminster University. 2010.
The Yijing, Storytelling and the Cognitive Unconscious’ at the University of Essex conference on Literature, Myth and the Unconscious. 2010
‘Writing in Schools.’ NAWE conference autumn 2008. Manchester University, 2008.
‘The Philosophical Troubadour: Michel Serres, Philosophy and Literature.’ Literature and Philosophy/Philosophy and Literature Inaugural Conference. Sussex University, 2008.
‘Don DeLillo, Fiction and the Lies of Consciousness.’ British Society for Literature and Science Conference. Keele University, 2008.
‘Italo Calvino and Lucretius: Fiction, Science and the Reconciliation with the World.’ British Society for Literature and Science conference. Birmingham, 2007
‘Reading the New Media.’ National Association of Writers in Education 2006 Conference, To Infinity and Beyond. Presentation and Workshop with novelist David Fine.
‘Otherwise than Levinas: Crossing Over from Transcendence to Traversal.’ Levinas Centenary Conference. Sofia University, Bulgaria, 2006
‘Towards a Polytheism of the Image: Levinas, Blanchot and the Dread of Being.’ Staffordshire University Conference on the Image, 2006.
‘Beyond the River Sambatyon.’ American Comparative Literature Association Conference. Princeton University, 2006.
‘Monobibliomania.’ Future Literature, Future Criticism Conference. Prague,2005.
‘Wisdom, Love and the Task of Philosophy.’ Liverpool University Philosophy as a Way of Life Conference, 2004.
‘Learning How to Swim.’ National Association of Writers in Education Conference, 2004.