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Ai Weiwei
Courtesy of Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei is writing a memoir

Set for release next year, the book will contain details of the artist’s extraordinary life so far

Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has signed a deal with Crown Publishing Group to write his first ever memoir – and it's set to be released in 2017.

According to reports in the New York Times, the human rights activist will share the story of his extraordinary life so far; including details on the cultural history of China, as well as the life of his father, the celebrated poet Ai Qing.

“I write about my father, his generation, and my own experience, our struggle for individual freedom and self-expression in this old society,” Ai announced in an official statement. 

Qing started out as a painter himself, but was imprisoned by the Kuomintang for “revolutionary activities” when Weiwei was a child. The book will talk more about the effects this had on his life, and how he went from living in a small hole in the ground (actually though) to becoming one of the most recognised artists in the world. It will also address Ai's renowned political activism, which famously resulted in a sinister 81-day detention in 2011.

Despite keeping a low profile over the last few years, Ai has said that the move may be seen as provocative by the notoriously strict Chinese authorities. Apparently, autobiographical writing is not viewed positively.

“The history of totalitarianism is one characterized by the state's continuous attempts to destroy individual memories,” he added.