de Waal, Edmund

Edmund de Waal

Elected: 2021

Edmund de Waal CBE is both an acclaimed artist and a writer. He is best known for his large-scale installations of porcelain vessels, often created in response to collections and archives or the history of a particular place. His interventions have been made for diverse spaces and museums worldwide, including The British Museum, London; The Frick Collection, New York; Ateneo Veneto, Venice; Schindler House, Los Angeles; Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna and V&A Museum, London. His library of exile, a migratory exhibition travelled from Venice to Dresden, ending at The British Museum, London. A temporary pavilion, designed as a place of dialogue and contemplation, where visitors are encouraged to sit and read a collection of  2,000 books by writers who have experienced exile from across the world. Almost all the books are in translation, exploring the idea of language as migration. The books have now been donated to the University of Mosul Library, destroyed by IS in 2015 and the external walls painted with liquid porcelain are being gifted to The Warburg Institute, London, by the artist and will be incorporated into the institute’s redesign. He is also renowned for his bestselling family memoir, The Hare with Amber Eyes (2010), which won many literary prizes including the RSL Ondaatje Prize and the Costa Biography Award and has been translated into 29 languages. In 2016, it was chosen as the Independent Bookshop Week’s Book of the Decade. Other titles include The White Road (2015), The Pot Book (2011), 20th Century Ceramics (2003) and de Waal’s critical study on Bernard Leach for Tate (1997). His new book, Letters to Camondo, a series of haunting letters written during lockdown was published in April 2021. He was made an OBE for his services to art in 2011 and awarded the Windham-Campbell Prize for non-fiction by Yale University in 2015. He has received honorary doctorates from the University of the Arts London, Nottingham, Sheffield, York and Canterbury Christ Church universities and is an Honorary Fellow of Trinity Hall, Cambridge. b.1964 Nottingham. He lives and works in London.

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Fellows are nominated by peers and elected by our Council of writers – our governing Board. Being elected a Fellow of the RSL is a lifetime honour. This role gives them the opportunity to support other writers, readers and the future of literature. The RSL connects writers in the Fellowship to one another, and to a wider readership.