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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 April, 2004, 12:34 GMT 13:34 UK
US apologises for barring author
Ian McEwan
McEwan won the US National Book Award for his novel Atonement
Author Ian McEwan has received an apology from the US government after he was refused entry to the country.

McEwan was stopped by US immigration officials as he attempted to board a flight from Canada to Seattle for a series of lecture engagements in March.

The writer, a favourite of the First Lady Laura Bush, was let in just minutes before his first lecture, according to The Guardian.

He received a letter apologising for any "inconvenience and delay" caused.

It added: "Be assured that this erroneous refusal will not impact your future applications to the United States."

'Traveller's tale'

The problem arose when immigration officials decided the nature of his visit meant he required a visa typically required for business visitors.

McEwan, who last year won the US National Book Award for his novel Atonement, spent the night in a Vancouver hotel until the situation was sorted out

He has been advised to keep the letter "as a means of clarification and facilitation at a US port of entry" as he now has a "refused entry" stamp in his passport.

McEwan said: "I have been doing this type of thing for 30 years and I have never been refused entry.

"But far worse things happen to travellers and it ended very well, so I think it will fade into a traveller's tale," he told The Guardian.

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27 Feb 03  |  Entertainment
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