Will Buckingham

Will Buckingham

Stories, travels and ideas

Booking enquiry
Will Buckingham - author tools

Available for

Workshop, Talk, Reading, Interview, Commission a book


Age 5 to 7, Age 7 to 11, Age 11 to 14, Age 14 to 16, Age 16 to 18+, Further Education, University, Adult


Essay, Fiction, Fiction narrative, Historical fiction, History, Journalism, Memoir, Mind, Narrative, Narrative non-fiction, Non-Fiction, Picture book, Reference, Short story, Textbook, Travel

Book types

Educational, Fiction for adults, Fiction 8-13, Non-fiction for adults, Picture book


About My Books

Hello! I’m Dr Will Buckingham. I love stories, travels and ideas, and I write for both adults and children. My books range from children's books to travel writing, and from philosophy to novels.

My picture book, The Snorgh and the Sailor (Alison Green Books 2012/2022), described by Julia Donaldson as “Outstanding — adventurous and quirky”, continues to be popular in schools and libraries. My middle-grade novel about dogs, the theory of relativity and friendship, “Lucy and the Rocket Dog” (2017) was a Library Information Technology Association Excellence in Children’s & Young Adult Science Fiction Notable Book.

“Hello, Stranger: Stories of Connection in a Divided World” (Granta 2021) is my most recent book for adults. “Hello, Stranger” was BBC Radio4 Book of the Week, and was featured on the BBC's Saturday Live. It draws together storytelling, anthropology, philosophy, history and memoir to ask what it means to live in a world where most of us are strangers to each other. I've written lots more for adults: everything from novels to travel memoirs. I have also contributed to DK's global bestseller (7 million copies sold to date!), “The Philosophy Book: Big Ideas, Simply Explained” (2013), where I wrote all the chapters from Nietzsche to Žižek. 

I also write academically. I was formerly Associate Professor in Writing and Creativity at De Montfort University, and Visiting Associate Professor in the School of Literature and Journalism at Sichuan University (I am also a Chinese speaker). Currently, I am on the visiting faculty at Parami University, Myanmar. I have a PhD in philosophy and an MA in anthropology, and although I've been freelance since 2016, I still work on academic projects. The most recent has been a collaboration with researchers at the University of Kraków on a project about climate change and literature. 

I run the popular online philosophy project Looking for Wisdom, which brings a truly global perspective to the study of philosophy.

Workshops, Talks and Events

For the past 20 years, I have run workshops in creative writing and creative thinking in all kinds of settings. Some of my projects have included: workshops for schools, library projects, writing residencies in hospitals, community philosophy salons in China, work with community groups, projects in museums… Wherever I work, I believe that we all have stories and ideas with the power to change the world, if only we realise it.

Through my social enterprise, Wind&Bones CIC, I've run projects with refugee communities in Greece and the UK, with women survivors of abuse in Bulgaria, and with small community education providers in Myanmar.

I've also appeared in book and literature festivals across the world, giving talks and workshops: including the Bookworm Book Festival (China), the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival (Indonesia), the Edinburgh Book Festival (forthcoming, Scotland), the Wigtown Book Festival (Scotland), the Sofia Book Festival (Bulgaria) and the Helsinki Night of the Arts (Finland).

Some of my recent and upcoming events and workshops for 2022 include:

- A primary school visit in NE England, running nonfiction workshops
- Residency and week-long virtual writing workshop with the Elizabeth Kostova Foundation, Bulgaria
- Three day writing workshop at the Dandelion Festival Glasgow (forthcoming, June 2022)
- Guest writer on the Freedom to Write retreat, Wales, with writers Andy West and Yvonne Jewkes
- Creative writing project with women survivors of abuse in Bulgaria, run via Wind&Bones and funded by British Embassy, Bulgaria, with final exhibition at the National Gallery, Bulgaria.
- An author talk at the Derby Book Festival
- A public philosophy talk for the Pari Center, Italy
- Writing commissions for RE Today magazine
- Consultancy and curriculum development for Parami University, Myanmar, and the Chinbridge Institute, Myanmar

I’m currently based in Dundee, although I’m often found elsewhere, and I'm willing to travel. So whatever project you are cooking up, wherever in the world, give me a shout and let's talk more.


Books by Will Buckingham

I am the author of thirteen books, and contributor to many more.
Hello, Stranger: Stories of Connection in a Divided World

Hello, Stranger: Stories of Connection in a Divided World

A Radio4 Book of the Week! When Will Buckingham's partner died, the shock of his grief told him to withdraw. Instead, he sought solace in throwing open the door to new people; travelling the world - from Birmingham to Myanmar - seeking out stories of loneliness, exile and friendship, from classical times to the modern day. Drawing from his travels, as well as insights from philosophy, anthropology, history and literature, Hello, Stranger is a powerful antidote to loneliness and xenophobia, and a heart-warming story of the power of kindness and compassion. 
The Philosophy Book: Big Ideas, Simply Explained

The Philosophy Book: Big Ideas, Simply Explained

The multi-million global bestseller! The Philosophy Book introduces you to ancient philosophers like Plato and Confucius. But it doesn't stop there -- read about our modern thinkers such as Chomsky and Derrida, too. This book has short and sweet biographies of over a hundred philosophers and their profound questions. Work your way through the different branches of philosophy like metaphysics and ethics. Understand how philosophical questions have led to breakthroughs in math and science. Figure out how the history of philosophy informs our modern lives, exploring topics like how science can predict the future and how language shapes our thoughts and decisions. I wrote all the chapters on modern and contemporary philosophy for this big, beautiful volume: everyone from Nietzsche to Žižek. 
The Snorgh and the Sailor

The Snorgh and the Sailor

“Outstanding—adventurous and quirky” — Julia Donaldson A poignant and witty story about an unlikely friendship; a surprising journey—and the discovery that we can all do the most amazing things, if we only dare to. Snorghs don't have visitors. Snorghs don't share soup. And Snorghs most definitely DO NOT like adventures. But then a bedraggled sailor arrives telling exciting stories of exotic lands—and the Snorgh finds himself going on an adventure after all. A beautiful new cover edition of The Snorgh and the Sailor for new fans and old fans alike. Rich, captivating storytelling full of unexpected adventure. A reassuring book about welcoming new experiences Stunning, atmospheric artwork by Thomas Docherty, illustrator of The Snatchabook, The Screen Thief and Abracazebra  
Lucy and the Rocket Dog

Lucy and the Rocket Dog

Lucy loves space. She loves to gaze up at the stars and bask in space's bigness and its here, there, and everywhereness. She loves it so much that she built a rocket ship in her backyard, hoping that one day she can use it to explore space herself. The ship is just Prototype I, though, so it's not ready to carry anyone into orbit yet. Or so she thinks. Laika doesn't give much thought to space--she is a dog, after all. The thing that Laika loves the most is Lucy. She loves Lucy so much that, one evening, she wanders into Prototype I looking for her--and is promptly launched into space. While Laika takes off on an intergalactic adventure, Lucy begins a lifelong scientific quest to bring her dog home. Told from the two friends' alternating perspectives and, in turns, heartbreaking and hilarious, this tale will win over anyone who has ever loved a pet, or who has looked at the stars and wondered just what might be going on in the here, there, and everywhereness. 
Stealing with the Eyes: Imaginings and Incantations in Indonesia

Stealing with the Eyes: Imaginings and Incantations in Indonesia

Will Buckingham travelled to Tanimbar Islands (Indonesia) as a trainee anthropologist to meet three remarkable sculptors: the crippled Matias Fatruan, the buffalo hunter Abraham Amelwatin, and Damianus Masele, who was skilled in black magic, but who abstained out of Christian principle. Part memoir, part travel-writing, Stealing with the Eyes is the story of these men, and also of how stumbling into a world of witchcraft, sickness and fever lead him to question the validity of his anthropological studies, and eventually to abandon them for good. Through his encounters with these remarkable craftsmen and weaving together Tanimbarese history, myth and philosophy of this part of the world from ancient times we are shown the forces at play in all of our lives: the struggle between the powerful and the powerless, the tension between the past and the future, and how to make sense of a world that is in constant flux. 
Complete Write a Novel Course: Your complete guide to mastering the art of novel writing

Complete Write a Novel Course: Your complete guide to mastering the art of novel writing

Designed to take you from the moment you first put pen to paper right through to the process of contacting publishers (or uploading an ebook file) and promoting your book, this is the most important book on writing that you'll ever read. It introduces you to the craft of fiction writing, the art of words and the way in which to use them. It gives you inspiration, ideas and practical advice. It gives you the background and the skills you'll need to succeed. Unlike other books on the market, however, it also helps you begin to critique your own work, meaning that at every step of the writing process you'll be producing the best art you can. There are plenty of other essential writing tools in this book, as well, including techniques for overcoming writer's block; with nearly a quarter of the book focussing on how to get published, how to publish yourself, which courses you do - and don't - need, the nuts and bolts of competitions and festivals and the importance of social media, this really is the most comprehensive companion to the subject available. 
The Descent of the Lyre

The Descent of the Lyre

It is the early nineteenth century, and the Bulgarian village of Gela, the legendary home of Orpheus, is suffering under the heavy taxation and arbitrary justice of Ottoman rule. When his bride-to-be is abducted the night before his wedding, Ivan Gelski takes to the hills and turns to banditry to seek revenge. But a chance encounter with a travelling guitarist, and the bloodshed that follows, set him on a musical journey through fame, martyrdom and legend. In this remarkable reinvention of the tale of Orpheus, Will Buckingham plunges us into the music and folklore of Bulgaria, in a parable about storytelling, sainthood and myth-making. 
A Practical Guide to Happiness: Think Deeply and Flourish

A Practical Guide to Happiness: Think Deeply and Flourish

What is happiness? What makes you happy?Is there more to life than happiness? Learn to cultivate your taste for pleasure, free yourself from the various disturbances of life, and overcome irrational expectations that cause distress. Go with the flow and rediscover the joy of existence. Filled with exercises, tips and case studies, this Practical Guide will enable you to see happiness in a new light, with the help of the world's greatest minds 
Snapshots of Museum Experience: Understanding Child Visitors Through Photography

Snapshots of Museum Experience: Understanding Child Visitors Through Photography

n 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. Drawing together the fields of museum studies and childhood studies, the book considers children as active creators of the museum visit. It investigates the way that children navigate and take control of the physical and social spaces of the museum, finding their own idiosyncratic pathways through these spaces. It also explores how elements of the museum ‘light up’, becoming salient to the child visitor. Finally, it investigates how children make sense through intellectually and imaginatively engaging with these elements of the museum visit. 
Sixty-Four Chance Pieces: A Book of Changes

Sixty-Four Chance Pieces: A Book of Changes

The Chinese I Ching, the Book of Changes, is one of the oldest and strangest of all books, a masterpiece of world literature, a divination manual and a magnet for the deranged and the obsessive. In Sixty-Four Chance Pieces, novelist and philosopher Will Buckingham puts the I Ching to work, using it to weave together sixty-four stories of chance and change, each flowing from one of the I Ching's 64 hexagrams. Moving between myth, fable and travel-writing, Sixty-Four Chance Pieces offers an attempt to make sense of the maddening, changeable book that is the I Ching with tales of inventors and fox-spirits, ancient poets and non-existent rulers, kleptomaniac pensioners and infernal bureaucrats. Like the I Ching itself, this new Book of Changes is a puzzle, a conundrum and a journey of many transformations, where nothing is quite what it seems. 
Levinas, Storytelling and Anti-Storytelling (Bloomsbury Studies in Continental Philosophy)

Levinas, Storytelling and Anti-Storytelling (Bloomsbury Studies in Continental Philosophy)

The telling of tales is always a troubling business, and the way in which we tell stories about ourselves and about others always involves a degree of ethical risk. Levinas, Storytelling and Anti-Storytelling explores the troubling nature of storytelling through a reading of the work of Emmanuel Levinas. Levinas is a thinker who has a complex relationship with literature and with storytelling. At times, Levinas is a teller of powerful tales about ethics; at other times, on ethical grounds, he disavows storytelling altogether. Levinas, Storytelling and Anti-Storytelling explores the tensions between philosophy and storytelling that run throughout Levinas's work. By asking about how Levinas tells and untells his stories, and by risking the telling of tales that Levinas himself does not dare to tell, this book opens up new ways of thinking about Levinas's ethics of responsibility.