Iranian illustrator to attend Edinburgh after visa trouble

Iranian illustrator to attend Edinburgh after visa trouble

Iranian illustrator Marjan Vafaeian has received a visa ahead of an appearance at the Edinburgh International Book Festival but illustrator-in-residence Ehsan Abdollahi is still waiting, their publisher has said.

Tiny Owl tweeted: “Breaking news! We're pleased to announce that Marjan Vafaeian's visa has now been issued but it was a needlessly stressful struggle. @EdBookFest Illustrator in Residence Ehsan Abdollahi is still waiting..... Why put so much pressure on illustrators/publishers/literary festivals?”

Vafaeian is scheduled to take talk about her and Beverley Naidoo’s retelling of the Cinderalla story at the festival on 23rd August, whilst Abdohalli is supposed to be taking part in a event about ‘Puppy Poetry, about a collection of poems he illustrated for US poet Eloise Greenfield, on 25th August. Both are also on the programme to run ‘big draw’ events.

Abdohalli hit the headlines last year when his visa application to visit the UK for the Edinburgh festival was declined. However, he was then granted a visa just days before he was due to attend following a swell of public support.

Last week the festival’s director Nick Barley said a dozen authors have been refused visas.

“We are obviously concerned that the challenges of obtaining a UK visa will have a knock-on effect on the international reputation of not only Edinburgh’s Festivals but arts and cultural organisations across the UK...We want to work with arts organisations across the UK, and the UK Government, to ensure that international artists, performers, musicians and authors who are invited to visit the UK by a known arts organisation are able to come to perform and talk about their work without the humiliation of having to provide the level of personal and financial detail currently required," he said. 

Nayrouz Qarmout, a Palestinian author, will not be able to attend because of delayed in getting a visa from the Home Office, her publisher Comma Press has said.