Friday, April 02, 2004

McEwan refused entry to U.S.
Booker Prize and National Book Award winner Ian McEwan (one of my favourite authors, although I prefer his short stories to his novels - except the ones that he structures as connected short stories) was refused entry into the U.S. at the U.S.-Canadian border. McEwan was entering the country without a visa to give a series of lectures. Apparently the immigration official thought that McEwan needs a visa to do so, and that McEwan was therefore not allowed to cross the border. "I am talking about my work, and who can talk about my work better than me? I am not coming to the US to practise as a novelist, I am coming to talk about being a novelist," McEwan said, from which I infer that the problem was that the border official interpreted lecturing as work and that an Englishman would need a visa allowing him to work in the U.S. This is not the first time a writer has had visa problems entering the U.S. Last year two Australian entertainment journalists were not allowed through customs after it came out that the were entering the U.S. to conduct interviews. It is obviously an ambiguous wording of the definition of work, especially when it comes to intellectual work such as public speaking and writing, that is causing the problem. Hopefully the misunderstanding will be cleared up quickly and McEwan will be allowed to continue on his way.


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