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Everything you need to know about the world's great writers and emerging voices is being collected and shared on the English PEN Online World Atlas. Head over to the Atlas to create (or edit) a profile for your favourite author or book, leave a comment or contact another user, and discover your next great read. We believe that great writing has the power to change your life and change the world, one book at a time.

The Atlas is proud to be partnering with the Hay Festival's Beirut39 contest, celebrating Beirut's year as UNESCO World Book Capital, to find the hottest authors under 40 of Arabic origin. Nominations are open until August 24th, 2009.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Art See No Border? On Getting to the UK (or not, as the case more often is)

Perhaps the high profile case of Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami, due to direct Così fan Tutte for the English National Opera, will draw attention to the current critical state of visas for artists travelling to the UK. As the Guardian reports today, Kiarostami - an internationally acclaimed director who has travelled to festivals around the world - said
that he "does not feel he was treated in a respectful way" when applying for his visa. He found the process "unduly time-consuming and hugely complicated".
Despite the late intervention of the British ambassador in Tehran, Kiarostami decided to quit the application process.

Artsadmin called attention to the changes in the UK application system for artists earlier this year, with a petition signed by prominent artists, supported by the Manifesto Club. The new visa restrictions have hit the Atlas directly, with visa complications leading to the cancellation of our Refuge in Words event. If you believe that artists and art should be able to travel, please consider signing the Artsadmin/Manifesto Club petition and lobbying your MP.

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