Philosopher A.C. Grayling may visit Haw Par Villa

Philosopher A.C. Grayling may visit Haw Par Villa
British philosopher Anthony Clifford "A.C." Grayling.

British philosopher Anthony Clifford "A.C." Grayling does not believe in religion, but on his first visit here, he may well head off to scrutinise dioramas of the Chinese version of hell.

"I have not visited Singapore before, but my wife lived there as a child and is looking forward to showing me the scenes of her memories," Grayling, 64, writes in an e-mail interview ahead of his two appearances at the Singapore Writers Festival next month.

The father of four - two grown children from a previous marriage, plus a teenage stepson and daughter - is married to novelist Katie Hickman, 53, who lived in Singapore from 1969 to 1971.

She told The Straits Times in a 2008 interview that one of her most vivid memories is that of being terrified and thrilled by the "cave with the scenes from hell" at Haw Par Villa, where statues embody images from Chinese folklore.

Grayling is well known for his philosophy of secular humanism and opposition to organised religion.

His first public appearance here, on Nov 2, will be for a lecture titled A Good Life In A Bad World?, billed as "an illuminating lecture on how we live, how we treat one another, and our interactions with the world at large".

Later that evening, he hosts an already sold-out dinner, part of the Singapore Writers Festival's annual Eat Your Words series, where readers and writers share food and food for thought.

Dinner guests are assured of a treat, judging by Grayling's description of a typical meal at home. "We have lively conversations about everything under the sun. My wife is a writer, the children are clever and highly individual. There is no end to the surprising, funny, serious, philosophical and sometimes zany topics that arise," he writes.

He published two books with Bloomsbury this year typical of his engaging and argumentative style.

More about

Purchase this article for republication.



Your daily good stuff - AsiaOne stories delivered straight to your inbox
By signing up, you agree to our Privacy policy and Terms and Conditions.