We are thrilled to announce a happy ending to the story of our illustrator’s visa. Ehsan Abdollahi, illustrator of When I Coloured In the World and A Bottle of Happiness, initially had his visa application refused for his planned visit to the Edinburgh International Book Festival. Now, after enormous public support, we have received news that his application has been granted and that all of Ehsan’s events in London and Edinburgh will be going ahead as planned.
Delaram Ghanimifard, publisher at Tiny Owl said: “We’re delighted that the embassy has overturned their decision to grant Ehsan Abdollahi’s visa. This is a real testament to the support Ehsan has received over the last week and we thank everyone who wrote to their MPS, shared the #VisaForAbdollahi hashtag and bought books in protest. We hope that for us, and for other publishers, this will set a precedent for artists wanting to come to the UK in the future. Stories help us understand different cultures and people as well as find our own similarities with them.Through meeting the artists that create these stories, children’s own literary and imaginative landscape grows and a greater understanding between cultures is developed. We believe that stories act as bridges – so from Ehsan and all of us at Tiny Owl, to everyone who helped us to keep building these bridges, thank you.”
Nick Barley, director of the Edinburgh International Book Festival said: “I am absolutely thrilled for Ehsan Abdollahi, and for all the people who will now be able to meet him in Edinburgh. But more fundamentally I am relieved that an artist has been granted permission to travel to the UK from Iran and talk about his work at the Book Festival this summer. Now more than ever, we need to hear people like Ehsan talking about their ideas.”
Janet Smyth, children and education programme director said: “Ehsan’s exquisite illustrations deserve a wide audience and I am excited that he will be able to appear with the author Pippa Goodhart to talk about their book, A Bottle of Happiness. And I’m proud that a brilliant independent publisher like Tiny Owl will have the opportunity to celebrate their work in front of our incredibly enthusiastic Edinburgh readers.”
- Read the Guardian’s article
- Read the Booksellers piece of news
- Read a letter by Beverley Naidoo to the Guardian
- Read this blog: Tiny Owl illustrator was refused entry. Why?!
- Read the overwhelming support for Ehsan Abdollahi
- Read Pippa Goodhart’s blog: Let’s not build a wall around ourselves
- Read Jackie Morris’s blog: Building bridges of colour not walls of misstrust
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