Making Sense by Ai Weiwei.

It’s in its final weeks @ the Design Museum in London so do go if you can. I went to see it with a dear friend. Simonetta Agnello Hornby and I met as young mothers. Now she’s famous as an author, TV personality ‘Io et George’ and speaker in Italy. She of course appears in Food of Love and supplied a recipe.

Few know that Ai Weiwei began his career with the courageous Stars artists in that glimmer of a Beijing Spring in 1979. When I heard their story from a founder, Qu Leilei, I wondered why it was not well known. As NO-ONE had written about the Stars Art Movement in detail, (and no one in China could) I decided to do it. To my knowledge, Brushstrokes in Time is the ONLY book on the Stars. I made it a NOVEL so readers walk in their shoes as they march to Tiananmen Square or witness the trial of democracy activist Wei Jingsheng, or experience the joy of creating new and edgy work. Ai Weiwei was the youngest of the Stars.

I couldn’t get an agent to get to a large publisher even though Myslexia introduced to me to one when they shorted listed an early version (different title). The reason?  I’m ‘not Chinese’ so Claret Press published it. It’s been endorsed by China experts including Guardian Chief Foreign Correspondent John Gitting’s who says,

Vetta is always accurate with a grasp vivid detail’.

John reviewed the unexpected and ground breaking official show.

Here are  a few of the 100 hundred brilliant comments I’ve been honoured to have received for Brushstrokes in Time.

 A Brilliant Compelling Read:   Shrenik Rao Editor of the Madras Courier

 For me, it has to be among my top ten historical novels, certainly of this century. Utterly mesmerising and unforgettable:  Dr Jenny Lewis, Internationally renowned poet.

 I could not put this page-turner down. As I reached the end just one thought dominated: everyone should read this book. No one I’ve ever come across has managed to tell the story of modern Chinese politics, arts and society in such accessible, imaginative and compelling a fashion.  Ray Foulk Founder of the Isle of Wight Festival & author of Stealing Dylan from Woodstock.

Moving but never mawkish, informed yet entirely accessible. Dr Maria Jashok (Oxford) Maria lived in China between 1980-1996.

Its been well reviewed & Dr Joy Zhang University of Kent China studies made three short video interviews with me about letting the world know about the courageous Stars Artists.

I’d be delighted to talk about the stars and writing about important but forgotten or ignored history. Interested ? Get in touch.

Here are some images of the unofficial show and the march


If you want to know more  read this feature


Me with Qu Leilei at the Ashmolean