Ehsan Abdollahi, the illustrator-in-residence at this year’s Edinburgh International Book Festival, has finally been issued with a visa, his publisher has confirmed.
Delaram Ghanimifard, publisher at Tiny Owl, said the visa had been issued for Abdollahi but he had not yet received it because it was issued and sent from Abu Dhabi. “We hope he receives his visa before his flight on Friday,” she said.
Abdollahi is scheduled to take part in a ‘big draw’ event at the festival on Friday 24th August and then an event with US poet Eloise Greenfield, whose collection of poetry he illustrated, on Saturday 25th August.
The Iranian illustrator is one of a dozen artists invited to the Edinburgh International Book Festival who struggled to get visas, including fellow Tiny Owl illustrator Marjan Vafaeian. Last week Ghanimifard described the experience as “very frustrating” and revealed it was the fourth year running that Tiny Owl had experienced these problems.
“It impacts on us [as a publisher] a lot. This is one of the only chances our illustrators will have to come and show their faces and art and work with these children. When we don’t have these opportunities it is like our hands are tied… as though we’re running a race we’re not fit for. I hope their visas come through."
Abdollahi also struggled to obtain a visa to visit Edinburgh International Book Festival last year and was only granted one after a public outcry.