Ai Weiwei Is Writing a Memoir for 2017

Ai Weiwei. Photo: Darren Gerrish/Getty Images

The Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei is writing a memoir, the New York Times reports. Crown will publish the book in the spring of 2017 in the U.S., and declined to say how much the artist will be paid. The publisher said that the book would look at China's history through his life and that of his father, Ai Qing, a painter and poet, who has similarly struggled against the Chinese government and was exiled by the Mao regime to do hard labor in the Gobi desert. “I write about my father, his generation, and my own experience, our struggle for individual freedom and self-expression in this old society," said Ai. As with most of his work, he sees the act of memoir-writing as an inherently political one. Ai's own blog, from which he produced social commentary, criticism, and anecdotes, was shut down by the Chinese government in 2009. (This produced the 2011 compilation Ai Weiwei's Blog.) Ai said, “The history of totalitarianism is one characterized by the state’s continuous attempts to destroy individual memories.”