Contemporary Armenian Women Writers Read their Works in New York

Contemporary Armenian Women Writers Read their Works in New York

Arts | July 5, 2012 2:07 pm

>From left, Lola Koundakjian, Nora Armania, Lucine Kasbarian and Aida

WOODSIDE, N.Y. – On Thursday, April 12, at the Armenian Center here,
four female writers of the diaspora presented their works at Literary
Gems and Wine – a program sponsored by the New York Chapter of the
Hamazkayin Cultural Association.
Nora Armani, Lucine Kasbarian, Lola Koundakjian and Aida
Zilelian-Silak shared writings that explored the rich complexities of
the human condition. The collective result was an eclectic compilation
of vocal pieces that reflected a poignant and contemplative look at
life in the diaspora.

In her introduction, program organizer, rare book librarian and
literary devotée Arevik Caprielian expressed her satisfaction in
showcasing accomplished Armenian `creatives.’ `These writers need not
be heralded beyond the Armenian milieu in order to be recognized as
credits to the global Armenian nation,’ she said. `While Hamazkayin
remains true to its mission of preserving and disseminating Armenian
traditional literature and arts, it also moves forward with the times
and inevitable changes in diaspora,’ she continued. `Therefore, it
embraces contemporary authors writing in various languages,
considering them contributors to the body of Armenian literature.’
Caprielian concluded by affirming, `A nation maintains its distinction
through arts and literature.’

Actress and storyteller Armani read, in English, the opening chapter
from an untitled novel-in-progress. She also read an excerpt from her
unpublished novel, The Armoire, about four Armenian sisters flung to
the four corners of the earth, and a short story, `Waiting to Arrive,’
about journeys, memories and being, published in an anthology called
In Our Own Words: A Generation Defining Itself. To close, she played a
musical recording whose lyrics contained her poem about exile. Armani
acted in, directed and co-produced the award-winning play, `Sojourn at
Ararat.’ This year, Armani co-stars in the CBS television pilot
program, `Golden Boy,’ and her film, `Moving Stories,’ was screened in
the Short Film Corner at the Cannes Film Festival.

Writer and political cartoonist Kasbarian read, in English, two short
stories. The first, `A Subway Tautology,’ explored the social and
philosophical underpinnings of an absurd train travel incident. The
second, `Elixir in Exile,’ chronicled her suspenseful quest to locate
an ancestral family recipe, and will be published in r.kv.ry Literary
Journal. Her latest published work is an illustrated children’s book,
The Greedy Sparrow, an Armenian folktale retold which will be
performed at children’s literature workshops and a children’s book

Poet and artist Koundakjian read several works in Armenian and
English, including `Kalov Antsyalin’ and `Mazerut,’ describing times
spent with loved ones. She then read a thought piece called, `In
search of Rilke at the Metropolitan Museum of Art,’ and `Anonk Meran,’
memorializing those lost to mass murder. Her tribute, `Three Armenian
Artists in New York City’ recalled Arshile Gorky, Reuben Nakian and
Marcos Gregorian. And her inspiring, lyrical prose poem, `Khurad Hay
Panasdeghdzin,’ counseled writers struggling to find their muse.
Koundakjian’s latest published work is a collection of poems called
The Accidental Observer. Founder of the Dead Armenian Poets Society,
she is also the curator of the Armenian Poetry Project, which presents
classic and contemporary Armenian poetry and other writings on
Armenian topics.

New York writer and editor Zilelian-Silak read, in English, her short
story, `He’s the One For Her.’ This narrative piece deconstructed the
ambitions of a young Armenian woman searching for an elusive,
Armenian-speaking mate, and first appeared in Ararat. Her stories have
been featured in journals such as Pen Pusher, Slushpile and Wilderness
House Literary Review. Her novel, The Hollowing Moon, was one of five
finalists for the 2011 Mercer Street Books Fiction Prize. Aida
organizes an ongoing reading series she established in Queens, NY
called Boundless Tales.

The writers can be reached at:,, and

In the future, the New York Chapter of Hamazkayin hopes to launch an
ongoing reading series spotlighting contemporary Armenian writers.

From: A. Papazian

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