Interview with Ehsan Abdollahi by The Letterpress Project
Q1. What are your earliest memories of books and reading? For example, did you have a favourite or inspirational book?
The first illustrated book that I loved was The Little Mermaid. It was translated into Farsi and it was in black and white. My father read it to me every day when I came back home from the nursery. Later when I went to school, I liked a book called The Little Lizard in My Room, which Farshid Mesghali had illustrated.
Q2. What inspired you to become an author / illustrator?
I was interested in drawing since I was very small. My parents both encouraged me too. The three of us would draw together. They were both good at drawing, I sometimes wonder why they didn’t become artists.
When no one was around, I’d draw on the doors, and because I couldn’t write yet, I’d tell stories about each drawing. I think these just grew in me and I chose to become an illustrator.
Q3. For you, what makes a successful book or illustration?
A successful book or illustration is the one that its audience can relate to. For children’s picture books, those books are the best that children like to look at and read them over and over. This means children can enter a new world of imagination with the book.
Q4. Do you have a specific audience in mind when you write your books / plan your illustrations?
If there is an age group for the book, I have some considerations, but otherwise I just freely illustrate out of my mind.
Q5. What future do you think the physical book has? For example, do you think the electronic book will replace the physical book?
Personally I enjoy the feel and even the smell of physical books. I think many people still have the same feelings as me. For me the real book is paper book. It has soul and smells of paper and ink.
Q6. Are you a book collector? Is there a special book you’d love to own?
Yes, I like to collect children’s books, especially the ones that I read as a kid.
- Read a poem by Ehsan Abdollahi about his UK visit
- Read more about the visa refusal and the #visaforAbdollahi campaign
- Watch Ehsan Abdollahi’s BBC interview at Edinburgh Festival
- See The Bookseller cover illustration by Ehsan Abdollahi
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