Living in a world of strangers is always challenging. Even more so in present times, when we are subject to physical distancing measures due to COVID-19.
Several years ago, Wind&Bones’s Will Buckingham started work on a book about strangers, how to cultivate more welcoming cultures, and how to deal more gracefully with the challenges and difficulties of navigating a world of strangers and strangeness.
These questions have been given an added urgency by the global pandemic. How do we keep open our doors—imaginatively, if not literally—during lockdown? How do we remain open to the many strangers with whom we share the world? He do we resist fear and build trust?
Here at Wind&Bones HQ, Will has just finished the final draft of his book Hello Stranger: Stories of Connection in a Divided World, and sent it off to his editor at Granta. The book is due out in July 2021 (with the rights also sold so far to Korea and Germany).
By the time the book is published, the pandemic may have subsided; or we may be caught in fresh waves of infection, with all the individual and societal consequences that entails. Either way, it seems timely to be thinking about what it means to connect and reconnect, and to seek out ways of mending the brokenness of the world, whatever our circumstances, by saying, ‘Hello, stranger.’