Sixty-Four Chance Pieces
Sixty-Four Chance Pieces is a novel of sorts that puts the I Ching 易經, or Chinese Book of Changes, to work as a literature machine to generate new stories and new possibilities.
I started out on this project some time around 2005, and over the years it has grown into something of an obsession. Each of the sixty-four chapters of the book draws on a chapter of the Chinese text, and combines storytelling, travel writing and often wayward philosophical reflections as it traces the three thousand year-old intrigue of the I Ching.
Sixty-Four Chance Pieces was launched in March at the Bookworm Literary Festival — China’s biggest English language literature festival — with events in English and Chinese in Beijing, Chengdu, Suzhou and Ningbo.
The book is now available worldwide in paperback and ebook formats.
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“Buckingham’s stories are glimpses into worlds familiar yet somehow distant, their landscapes and cultures verging on the mythical… Eclectic, with a healthy dose of humour, the stories of Sixty Four Chance Pieces act as provocations to consider the nature of our respective political, social and personal realities—a quality it shares with its parent text.” — The Asian Review of Books
“Travelling without arriving, seeking without expectation of finding; Will Buckingham is a writer and philosopher of great humility and talent. Profoundly spiritual, entrancingly enigmatic, this is a magical book about the author’s quest to understand the ancient Chinese art of divination—and ultimately himself.” — Rhiannon Jenkins Tsang, author of The Woman Who Lost China.
Sixty-Four Chance Pieces draws on a long years of research into the I Ching. In 2010, I was awarded a British Academy grant to research the book in China, and the book was eventually launched in 2015 at the Bookworm Literary Festival.
Over a quarter of the sixty-four stories from the book have been published in publications such as The Packingtown Review, The Interpreter’s House, Brittle Star, The Frogmore Papers, New Writing: the Journal of the Theory and Practice of Creative Writing, Overheard: Stories for Reading Aloud published by Salt Books, , Necessary Fiction, Spilt Milk Magazine, The Lowestoft Chronicle, and broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and on internet radio station Radio Wildfire. I have also presented papers on the project at conferences such as the Bangor University East Asian Conference 2012, the CCWWP conference in Toronto (2012), the Borders and Crossings travel writing conference in Birmingham (2012), the Bangor conference on Cultural Translation and East Asia (2012), Sheffield Hallam’s short story conference (2011) and the Essex university conference on Literature, Myth and the Unconscious (2010)