Below is a preview of what I’m working on for my next book. It’s a fusion of campus novel, moral philosophy textbook and whodunnit. A tricky combo, but I like to do things differently! I’m going for Sophie’s World meets Agatha Christie meets Textbook of Moral Philosophy with a touch of The History Men/Stoner/The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.
As a lecturer in a modern-day university, I am required to be: academic scholar, researcher, educator, in loco parentis, therapist, grant writer, plagiarism specialist, inspirational speaker and ‘edutainer’. In addition to teaching my core subject, moral philosophy, I must integrate into the curriculum: sustainable development goals, decolonisation, critical thinking, inter-disciplinarity, and diversity. We must also give trigger warnings of potential upsetting topics, especially in light of a growing eco-anxiety, which can come into play when integrating sustainability into the curriculum. And this all for a salary less than my son’s girlfriend makes for her job in marketing.
So, this is me rising to the challenge. I’m going to revert to the case-study method made popular by Harvard. But, in a context where students are no longer companions in learning but customers to be provided a service, I shall endeavour to be entertaining.
In the following pages, you will encounter murder, sex, drugs, betrayals and ethical dilemmas. The story is part morality tale, part whodunit. I will ask you to make your own judgements – who is right and who is wrong. In deference to your learning outcomes, I shall lightly season with some moral philosophy. It’s going to be full on, state-of-the-art edutainment. You can at the end rate me with a number of stars.
When the Dean proposes the controversial concept of ‘edutainment’ the professor goes all in with a moral philosophy course based on a whodunnit that all assume is hypothetical – a murder in a citizen’s jury. A variety of characters provide an entertaining source of ethical dilemmas, but what the students don’t know is that the ultimate dilemma is very real, and their conclusions will have far-reaching consequences. This is an original take on the traditional campus novel addressing broad themes of what justice means in an age of climate change.