William Lindesay OBE is an honorary senior research fellow at University of Liverpool, where he studied geography and geology in the 1970s. Recently he received the Royal Society for Asian Affairs’ Special Award 2016. He first went to China to recce the Great Wall in 1986, making the first documented traverse of the ruins on foot the following year, in 1987, in which he covered 2,470 km.
Since 1990 he has resided permanently in China, spending more than 2,700 days on its Great Walls. He has written five books on the subject, published by Harvard University Press and Penguin among others, and fronted documentaries that have been screened on National Geographic Channel, Channel 4, Discovery Channel and the Smithsonian Channel.
William Lindesay is credited with arousing China’s national consciousness to protect the Great Wall and its environment, and he has created/curated two national exhibitions in Beijing, at the Capital Museum and the Imperial Academy, and seven provincial exhibitions. For his work presenting and preserving the Great Wall and assuming the role of its international ambassador he was granted permanent residency in China. He lives with his wife and two sons in Beijing, in a village below the Great Wall in the city’s northern suburbs.