I write fiction, philosophy and for children. My fiction tends to be somewhat philosophical, and my philosophy tends to be somewhat story-like. Some books end up in the middle of these two things. You can find out about my publications below. Clicking on the covers will take you to pages associated with the individual books.
If you’ve come to this page, you probably want to know about books and things. But I also write academically. You can find out more about my academic work on my research page.
Goat Music. 2015. Roman Books. A re-invention of the tale of Apollo and Marsyas, a contemporary satyr play, and a fable about art, violence and political power.
As well as writing fiction, I have published a guide for would-be novelists called Teach Yourself: Complete Write a Novel Course. The book was published by Hodder & Stoughton in 2015.
Sixty-Four Chance Pieces. 2015. Earnshaw Books. A re-imagining of the enigmatic Chinese Book of Changes or Yijing (易經) through sixty-four stories that combine fiction, non-fiction, travel-writing and wayward philosophical speculation.
Cargo Fever. 2007. Published by Tindal Street Press. A novel set in Indonesia about gods, human beings and monsters.
The Descent of the Lyre. 2012. Published by Roman Books. A novel about music and myth, following in the footsteps of Orpheus, set in 19th Century Bulgaria and Paris.
I write both popular and academic (also known as unpopular) philosophy. I have interests in Continental philosophy, Chinese thought, comparative approaches to philosophy, ethics, and above all the question of the relationship between philosophy and life as it is lived.
Introducing happiness: A Practical Guide. 2012. Published by Icon / Totem Books. A brief and breezy introduction to various philosophies of happiness.
The Philosophy Book. 2010. Published by Dorling Kindersley. I wrote everything in this book from Nietzsche to Žižek, via Husserl, Quine and Kristeva, amongst others. The book has been translated into pretty much every language you could imagine.
Levinas, Storytelling and Anti-Storytelling is a reading of Levinas in the light of the stories that he tells, and of storytelling in the light of Levinas’s thought. It was published by Bloomsbury Academic in 2013.
Finding Our Sea-Legs: Ethics, Experience and the Ocean of Stories. 2009. Published by Kingston University Press. A book about ethics and stories.
I write for children too, which allows me to be philosophical in ways you can’t get away with in fiction for adults, children being natural born philosophers and all that.
Lucy and the Rocket Dog. 2015/2017. My forthcoming book, Lucy and the Rocket Dog, is coming out from the lovely Knopf in New York in 2017. It is a tale of dogs, relativity and space science, and has been published first in Turkish by the (equally lovely) Büyülü Fener. The cover here is of the Turkish edition. I haven’t yet set up a page for the book on this site. I will do closer to the launch event.
The Snorgh and the Sailor. 2012. Published by Alison Green books, The Snorgh and the Sailor is a book about grumpiness, friendship and soup. It’s out in Chinese, Afrikaans, Finnish and other languages too.
I’ve also contributed to a lot of other books. Here’s a selection of some of my favourites.
Wonder in Contemporary Artistic Practice.
I had a lot of fun writing this wildly speculative chapter on the imperative to wonder, drawing on the ancient Chinese scholar and collector of strange tales, Guo Pu郭璞. The chapter is called “Wonders Without Wonder: Divining the Donkey-Rat”, and the book is edited by Irene Brown and Christian Mieves.
In Fiction we Trust.
My debut in Romanian language! My chapter in this book, “Levinas, filozofie si fictiune” is about Levinas and narrative. The original title was “Lies in Which Not Everything is False”, which I quite liked, although it apparently caused all kind of translation problems.
Overheard: Stories for Reading Aloud. I’m delighted to have a story in this collection edited by my good friend, novelist, poet and memoir-writer Jonathan Taylor. This is a collection of stories written to be read aloud. The story I have included in this collection is called “The Lake”, and involves an enthusiastic nude bather. It was later included as a part of my Yijing-based collection, Sixty-Four Chance Pieces: A Book of Changes
This volume on Utopia was the second annual collection of essays from Five Leaves Press, edited by Ross Bradshaw. I’ve a not-quite-utopian essay in this one called “The Trouble with Happiness”
The Lowestoft Chronicle.
I have a short (true) story in this one about a meeting with an alien in the city of Baoji 寶雞 in China. This is another story that found its way into my Sixty-Four Chance Pieces.
I’m working on all kinds of things at the moment. Here are a few.
There’s a book I’m working on about gods, ancestors and witchcraft in Indonesia. It’s somewhere between anthropology, philosophy and travel-writing.
I’m cooking up an academic book as well. I’m interested in the Wenxin Diaolong 文心雕龍, a Chinese text about the art of writing, and so there’s something cooking here.
The utterly secret but very exciting non-fiction project. Oh, yes! I’m looking forward to this one. But I’m not letting on. Not just yet, anyway.