Tag Archives: Marjan Vafaeian

Another year, another EIBF visa debacle

‘I apologise for my country.’ This might of course not be my country; I wasn’t born here and I’m uncertain they will let me stay here, but still. I apologise.

Ehsan Abdollahi by Chris Close

After the debacle over a visa for Ehsan Abdollahi’s appearance at the Edinburgh International Book Festival last year, I thought we had this ironed out. Stupid, I know, considering what has been going on domestically in the last year. But I really thought so.

Now it seems that what was done to him, the Home Office are repeating and doing to lots more invited authors and illustrators due to be in Edinburgh very soon. That includes Ehsan again, as well as his colleague at Tiny Owl, Marjan Vafaeian. They are either too rich or too poor, or too much something else, or too little. Or any other excuse.

As the MP for Edinburgh North and Leith says in the Guardian, ‘You have to ask why they think highly acclaimed artists would throw away their careers and leave their family and friends to live as illegal immigrants.’

How can they do this? How dare they?

Even when Britain was a normal and reasonable country, you’d have to ask yourself why the rest of the world would suddenly want to come here and stay forever. As things are now, no one would.

The word international in the Edinburgh International Book Festival does not only cover Americans or Nordic Noir authors, whom I assume are deemed worthy enough to be allowed in. It covers people from all sorts of different countries.

By next year none of them will want to come.

Schools for Charlotte Square

It’s short and sweet, the schools programme at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. ‘Making books more affordable’ is a good motto, I feel. May it be successful and reach the children who need it the most.

I know I shouldn’t read the programme and plan, but I can read it and think. Some of the authors on the schools list will be doing ‘normal’ events too. And there is always the perfecting my school appearance. One of these days it will work.

Last year someone I’d just met talked very enthusiastically about Jason Reynolds, whom I’d never heard of. Well, this American is coming over, for an event with Chris Priestley who has illustrated his book. That should be pretty special.

Clémentine Beauvais is someone else I’ve not seen before, and she will be appearing with Sarah Crossan, which will be good. James Mayhew I have always managed to miss, so I could perhaps undo that, and Melvin Burgess, whom I’ve seen a lot, is coming back after a break of a few years. Or did I merely miss him?

Ehsan Abdollahi and Delaram Ghanimifard

Ehsan Abdollahi will return, which pleases me, and he’s appearing with Eloise Greenfield. I’ve not seen Beverley Naidoo for years, and I don’t know her events partner Marjan Vafaeian at all, which I hope can be remedied.

I will quickly tiptoe past the ‘star attraction’ on the Thursday morning, to mention that the last day will be special as always, with people like Theresa Breslin and Philip Ardagh and lots of other fun.

As you can tell, many school children will have some great events to look forward to. I’m always in awe of the school groups who get up before dawn cracks, to travel across Scotland to come to one of the events. Hopefully it will be a memory for life, and be the beginning of a bookish future for some.