Stories, Ideas, Travels

Hello. I’m Will Buckingham (白忠修). I’m a writer and philosopher from the UK, and I’m currently based in Tainan, Taiwan — although I’m often found elsewhere in the world.

My books span nonfiction, travel writing, fiction, children’s books and philosophy for both an academic and popular market. I have been translated into multiple languages, including Chinese, Korean, Persian, Finnish, German, Turkish and French.

Writing and Research

My most most recent book was Hello, Stranger: Stories of Connection in a Divided World (Granta 2021/2), a BBC Radio4 Book of the Week. This book drew on my PhD research to explore the central role of hospitality in human life, and the often troubled and complex relationships we have with strangers.

Hello, Stranger on BBC Radio4 Book of the Week Hello, Stranger — a BBC Radio4 Book of the Week

I am interested in the ways in which philosophy gives shape to human lives. I believe that how we think and how we live are intimately interlinked. And by thinking differently, we can find ways of living differently.

My PhD is in philosophy, and my MA is in anthropology. For my MA work, I focussed on art, culture and social change in India and Indonesia. The latter drew on the fieldwork I carried out in the Tanimbar islands in conjunction with Pattimura University, Ambon, under the auspices of the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI). In 2018, I published a memoir called Stealing With the Eyes with Haus publications. This book explored my research in Indonesia, and the uneasy power-relationships that still underpin anthropology.

Troubled by the ethics of anthropological storytelling, I moved from anthropology to philosophy. For my PhD, I explored the complex role of narrative in the ethical philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas, and asked about the role that storytelling can play as a phenomenology of ethics.

As well as writing academically, I write popular philosophy. My little book on the philosophies of happiness is still going strong after something like a decade. And I was content advisor and contributor to DK’s phenomenally-bestselling The Philosophy Book, which to date has sold more than seven million copies globally.

Since graduating from my PhD, I have been increasingly involved in cross-cultural approaches to philosophy, literature and storytelling. In 2015, after ten years of research, I published my Sixty-Four Chance Pieces, a cycle of stories drawing on the Yijing (易經), or Book of Changes. It was the research towards this book that led me towards more cross-cultural approaches to philosophy and literature, with a particular focus on China.

My award-winning work on the Yijing has been published in both Chinese and English. I am developing this work further with a larger-scale project exploring the historical and contemporary role divination plays in human choice.

I am also working on a long-standing project that explores the contemporary applications of Liu Xie’s medieval classic “The Heart of Literature and the Carving of Dragons” (文心雕龍). This has led to a British Council-funded transnational literature project in collaboration with Dr Sipei Lu at the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts.

Teaching and Projects

University teaching

I have worked in universities across the world. I am on the faculty at Parami University, which provides education in the challenging environment of post-coup Myanmar. My relationship with Parami University goes back to 2017, when I became a member of the university’s founding faculty. I have been Associate Professor of Writing and Creativity at De Montfort University (UK), and in 2015-6, I was Visiting Associate Professor in the College of Literature and Journalism at Sichuan University (China).

I have worked as a curriculum advisor for institutions as varied as the Chinbridge Institute (Myanmar), the Open College of the Arts (UK), and Mote Oo Education (Myanmar), and been visiting lecturer at Sofia University, the École des Beaux-Arts Nantes-Metropole, Hualien University, Taiwan, the Pari Institute (Italy), the Premise Institute (Portland, Oregon), and at universities across the UK.

Writing projects

I have years of experience running projects that aim to foster creative writing and thinking. Although I also work in the formal education sector, I also believe in the value of community-based education. Since the early 2000s, I have run projects in a wide variety of community settings. I have been a writer in residence for the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, for schools, in museums, at festivals, in adult education centres, and with community groups.

Greenpeace workshop Running a workshop on writing and social change for Greenpeace, Bulgaria

I have also run writing workshops and events at book festivals globally from China (Bookworm Book Festival) to Indonesia (Ubud Writers’ And Readers’ Festival), and from Korea (Indigo Magazine) to Scotland (Wigtown Book Festival).

As an academic philosopher myself, I believe that philosophy is too important to be left to academic philosophers. I currently run a public philosophy salon at the Wansha Performing Arts Centre here in Tainan. This is a place where members of the public can co# me and talk about love and death, pleasure and duty, Zhuangzi and Aristotle, and all kinds of other fun philosophical matters.


I am co-director of Wind&Bones CIC, a social enterprise dedicated to writing and social change. With my Wind&Bones collaborator, Dr Hannah Stevens and the Emprove Foundation, Bulgaria, I ran Awakening Between the Lines, a British Embassy-funded writing project. We worked with women survivors of domestic abuse. This project culminated in the publication of a beautiful set of story-cards, and an exhibition in the National Gallery of Bulgaria.

Bulgarian National Gallery Awakening Between the Lines at the Bulgarian National Gallery

Wind&Bones have worked on projects across the world. We have drawn up manifestos for future food policy with farmers and food producers in rural Ireland. We have worked with refugee groups in Greece. We have run workshops with marginalised young people in the Scottish city of Dundee. In Myanmar, we were consultants for Mote Oo education, and undertook an eight month writing residency at the Parami Institute in Yangon. We have also been writers in residence at the Sofia Literature and Translation House, Bulgaria and the Nanning Literary House (南寧文學·家), Tainan.

Where to find me online

  • I am on Twitter and Mastodon. I’m also on LinkedIn, but only infrequently. But this is my main online home, and the best place to track me down.

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