360 Speaker Series: Edmund de Waal
Author and Artist
November 21, 2015
Bestselling author and artist Edmund de Waal speaks in conjunction with his new book, The White Road, an intimate narrative history of porcelain structured around five journeys through landscapes where porcelain was dreamed about, fired, refined, collected, and coveted.
A potter who has been working with porcelain for more than forty years, de Waal describes in The White Road how he set out on five journeys to places that would help him understand the clay's mysterious allure. From his studio in London, he starts by travelling to three "white hills"-sites in China, Germany and England that are key to porcelain's creation. But his search eventually takes him around the globe and reveals more than a history of cups and figurines; rather, he is forced to confront some of the darkest moments of twentieth-century history. Part memoir, part history, part detective story, The White Road chronicles a global obsession with alchemy, art, wealth, craft, and purity. In a sweeping yet intimate style that recalls The Hare with the Amber Eyes, de Waal gives us a singular understanding of "the spectrum of porcelain" and the mapping of desire.
“De Waal has a mystical ability to so inhabit the long-gone moment as to seem to suspend inexorable history, personal and impersonal.” --Veronica Horwell, The Guardian
Edumund de Waal Biography
Edmund de Waal is one of the world's leading ceramic artists, and his porcelain is held in many major museum collections. His bestselling memoir, The Hare with Amber Eyes has been published in thirty languages and won the Costa Biography Award and the RSL Ondaatje Prize. It was shortlisted for the Duff Cooper Prize, the Jewish Quarterly Wingate Prize, the PEN/Ackerley Prize and the Southbank Sky Arts Award for Literature, and longlisted for the Orwell Prize and BBC Samuel Johnson Prize. He lives in London with his family.
Sponsored by Sylvia Hougland