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1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows by Ai Weiwei (2021) Online Book Club

June 28, 2022

Tuesday, June 28th from 4:30PM to 6:30PM (PDT)   or

Thursday, June 30th from 4:30PM to 6:30PM (PDT)

Many know Ai Weiwei as China’s most controversial and perhaps most dangerous artist.   As we see from his documentaries or through his accessible installations that can be walked on, around or under, Ai Weiwei continues breaking boundaries to create thought provoking art.  The East Asia Resource Center invites you to join Tese Wintz Neighbor to discuss Ai Weiwei’s first memoir entitled 1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows.  

In many ways, Ai Weiwei’s life parallels his father’s, the famed poet Ai Qing (1910-1996). The title comes from words his father penned “Of a thousand years of joys and sorrow/ Not a trace can be found/You who are living, live the best life you can/Don’t count on the earth to preserve memory.” Ai Weiwei dedicates his preserved memories to his young son Ai Lao – and we are lucky to get a glimpse of  his captivating life, covered in 380 pages.

According to The Guardian,1,000 Years of Joys and Sorrows touches on the inevitable contradictions of being an activist and an art superstar, but it is above all a story of inherited resilience, strength of character and self-determination.” “Like a star in the sky or a tree in a field, he was always there as a compass point,” Ai writes, reflecting on his father’s death in 1996. “And in a quiet and mysterious way he helped me navigate in a direction all my own.  By the very absence of explicit guidance, a spiritual connection was forged between us; Father, in his own way, protected me.”   The New York Times review of this memoir can be found here.

Teachers who participated in this year’s NCTA seminar, “Through a Lens 2022” will have already received this memoir as part of the seminar book list.  In addition to reading this 380 page memoir,  teachers are required to submit a short written assignment prior to the book club date.

Book group leader 

Tese Wintz Neighbor

Date and time

The same program will run on both dates below; you can choose either date on the registration form.  A Zoom link will be emailed to you a few days prior to the program.

Tuesday, June 28th from 4:30PM to 6:30PM (PDT)

Thursday, June 30th from 4:30PM to 6:30PM (PDT)


  • A digital or physical copy of the book (Note: teachers who participated in “Through a Lens 2022” will have already received a copy as part of the seminar book list)
  • Four WA OSPI clock hours


Registration is now closed.  For questions, please email

East Asia Resource Center

Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies
University of Washington
Box 353650
Seattle WA, 98195-3650