Tiny Owl illustrator Ehsan Abdollahi has celebrated his recent visit to the UK by illustrating The Bookseller‘s editorial front cover for the August issue. The cover features Pim, the main character from A Bottle of Happiness and plentiful dandelions, a symbol of happiness in Persian culture. The result is a wonderful splash of colour bringing messages of hope and happiness to the publishing world.
Benedicte Page, Deputy Editor of The Bookseller, wrote about Tiny Owl and the importance of intercultural dialogue in her introduction to the issue: “This year – and not least following events in Charlottesville – we are all very aware that the role played by books in crossing national and cultural boundaries, and spreading the pleasure of storytelling between people on different sides of the mountain, as it were, feels more important than ever.”
This month’s issue also features an interview with Tiny Owl’s co-founder and publisher, Delaram Ghanimifard, who reflects on the importance of building bridges through children’s literature and Ehsan Abdollahi’s visa denial and subsequent overturn:
“I believe different people can only be friends when they talk with each other. ‘Talking’ can include reading translations of other languages, music, sign language, art and culture in general. It’s crucial to open the doors to authors and artists who are the heroes of cultural dialogue. The case of Ehsan Abdollahi drew attention to the many obstacles and difficulties that can get in the way of this. I really hope that Ehsan’s case helps more artists and authors in the future – in this way, it will definitely help to build bridges.”
Tiny Owl are very grateful for all of the support for Ehsan’s case and are thrilled that other artists, such as Avner Pariat, whose visas have been refused are also beginning to see these decisions overturned.
Tiny Owl was initially set up in response to the lack of children’s books that reflected the culture of its co-founder Delaram Ghanimifard. She wanted her sons to experience stories from home and appreciate the beautiful and diverse artistic heritage of Iran. Since 2015, Tiny Owl has published 16 books that celebrate the rich literary heritage of Persian culture and its collaboration with contemporary artists from Iran showcases the diverse illustrative styles coming from the region. As Tiny Owl spreads its wings, its aim is to continue to broaden perspectives and celebrate marginalised voices through publishing books from around the world as well as working on intercultural book projects such as A Bottle of Happiness.
- Read more about Ehsan Abdollahi’s events at Edinburgh International Book Festival
- Watch Ehsan Abdollahi’s interview with Kirsty Wark on the BBC: Welcome to Edinburgh 2017
- Read more about the visa refusal and the #visaforAbdollahi campaign
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