Join Ai Weiwei, the world-famous artist and activist, for a conversation about his widely anticipated memoir 1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows.

This ambitious yet intimate book tells a century-long tale of China through the story of his own tumultuous life and that of his father, Ai Qing, the nation’s most celebrated poet.

From his family’s banishment during the Cultural Revolution to the difficult decision to leave them to study art in America, and his subsequent rise from artistic unknown to art world superstar and international human rights activist, Ai discusses an extraordinary life lived under extraordinary circumstances. He also reflects on the myriad forces that have shaped modern China and the urgent need to protect freedom of expression.

Ai Weiwei’s sculptures and installations have been viewed by millions around the globe, and his architectural achievements include helping to design the iconic Bird’s Nest Olympic Stadium in Beijing. His political activism has long made him a target of the Chinese authorities, which culminated in months of secret detention without charge in 2011.

  • 1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows

  • 'Engrossing... A remarkable story' Sunday Times

    'Above all a story of inherited resilience, strength of character and self-determination' Observer

    Chinese dissident. Ground-breaking artist. Global icon.

    Here, through the sweeping, extraordinary story of his own and his father's lives, Ai Weiwei tells an epic tale of China over the last 100 years.

    He recounts a childhood in exile in a desolate place known as 'Little Siberia', his move to America as a young man and eventual return home, then his rise from unknown to art-world superstar and international human rights activist - and how his work has been shaped by living under a totalitarian regime.

    1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows is a story of exceptional creativity and passionate political beliefs, and a timely reminder of the urgent need to protect freedom of expression.


    'Intimate, unflinching ... an instant classic' Evan Osnos, author of Age of Ambition

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