Armenian writers have always been the core part of our national and cultural life. They were not just the intelligentsia, but also those who were forming public opinion.
Do you know how old is Armenian literature? Take a deep breath because you are going to be astonished! It’s nearly 2000 years old.
So, since the 5th century Armenian writers have tried to preserve our cultural, political and just trivial habits and traditions in their works.
The writings of the Armenian classics are the real treasury. However, let’s have a look at the writers of the modern era and their enormous array of genres and styles.
Armenian Writers #1: William Saroyan – The Kindest Giant
With typically Armenian traits, this American-based Armenian is one of the best-known literary figures of the past century. He was a successful novelist, playwright and short story writer.
He made an effort to create works filled with grace for life and likely impressionistic. This was called “Saroyanesque”. Being born to the family of Armenian refugees, Saroyan’s writings are basically about the life of Armenian immigrants set in his native city of Fresno.
His most famous works are “My name is Aram”, “My heart is in the highlands”, “An Armenian Trilogy”, “The time of your life”, etc. By the way, the Armenian writer was awarded a “Pulitzer Prize for Drama” and “New York Drama Critic Circle Award” for the latter writing.
This famous Armenian writer was friends with many outstanding foreigners such us Charlie Chaplin, George Bernard Shaw and others.
Armenian Writers #2: Vahram Sahakian – The Daring Guy of the Armenian Literature
Literature is the sphere where the use of unlimited vocabulary is inevitable. Writer themselves choose either literary language or common speech. When speaking about Armenian writers, it’s Vahram Sahakian’s name that comes to mind first.
He is an Armenian dramatist, actor and film director. It is his literature that stands out with wide range of words up to slang and cynicism. “Why roars city”, “Rye Key”, “Khatabalada”, “Once upon a time in Armenia”, “Mea Culpa” are the most famous writings of this daring guy.
It is very typical of him to narrate the reality in his works. Together with Vardan Petrosyan, he founded the theatre of “Young Hedgehogs”. It is the first private theatre for young people.
Armenian Writers #3: Violette Grigoryan – Poetess Full of Controversy
Violette Grigoryan is all about controversies. She was born in Iran and moved to Armenia during Soviet times.
This controversial poetess is quite talented and was awarded for her book called “ I’m telling the truth” . She also published “Harem’s rose”, “Bridge to Tianian”, “Que cet hiver est rude” (“Such a harsh winter”).
Her writings were published in English as well. You may find them in New York-based “Ararat” magazine.
Her poems stand out with drastic questions and unexpected conclusions. Besides, she is famous for her poems for a particular age group. This is why she is so controversial and somehow unusual.
Armenian Writers #4: Marineh Petrossian – The “Self-translator”
The political turns and twists in Armenia have always been penned by many Armenian writers. The same goes about poet, columnist and essayist Marineh Petrossian. Her TV appearance and writings made her a public figure, whose literary life goes hand in hand with the political life of Armenia.
She published many books. However, Marineh Petrossian is well-known in Armenia as a columnist of “Haikakan Jamanak” (Armenian Times)- the main opposition newspaper.
She led a weekly column and her essays on political matters had a huge readership. Petrossian’s activity coincided with presidential elections of 2008, which resulted in mass protests in Yerevan.
Her most famous books are “Salad with Shots”, “Canonical Stories”, “Red Poster” and “On Armenian Seashore”. She was the first Armenian writer to speak about “antipoetry”- a poetry that does not look like poetry.
So, if interested in her, but you think the language of her literature will hinder to read her writings, never mind! Marine Petrossian self-translated her works into English. You can find the translations in Transcript – Europe’s online review of international writing.
Armenian Writers #5: Shushan Avagyan – Author Without Conventions
Shushan Avagyan is perhaps one of the few Armenian writers who goes against the traditional ways of narrative and storytelling.
Accordingly, she creates her own style to present literary stuff. Thoughts and ideas carry more meaning than standard writings with beginning-middle-end format. For a reader, her books are sort of a challenge as every word, every sentence and expression count and worth attention.
The reader is in an active process of comprehending and understanding while reading her works. This young and talented writer is an awesome translator as well. Her famous books are “Book, Untitled” and “Zarubyan’s Women”.
Armenian Writers #6: Anna Davtyan – The Multitalented Lady
This young lady is one of the well-known representatives of the Armenian modern literature. She graduated from Yerevan State University and she is handy with many things.
Anna is a writer, photographer and translator at the same time. She even was a school-teacher. A truly gifted person, isn’t she? She has been published in many literary web pages since 2005.
Her “The book on gratitude” was published in 2012. However, she is famous for her short story called “Wide Shot”. It’s a story of Armenian rural life through the eyes of a modern man.
Within the story, the reader finds out how deep the traditions may run. And it’s is harder to break away from them.
Armenian Writers # 7: Ani Asatryan – The Freedom Fighter
As an ancient country, there are traditions and stereotypes in Armenia, that are never broken. Of course, many aspects of life have changed especially in urban areas.
Many Armenian writers have focused on this issue. The writings of Ani Asatryan- the freedom fighter of modern urban life depict the above mentioned. Her book called “I’m not going to die” draws the life in Yerevan.
She pays attention not only economic situation of the country, but also the unchanging lifestyle of Armenian girls.
The author preaches that young girls are free and they can make their own decisions. However, she finds nobody to follow her and grasp that freedom.
Armenian Writers #8: Lilit Karapetyan – The Creator of Mosaic from Jumbled Glimpses
It doesn’t matter whether the writer is a modern one or a classic, there is a topic that none of them leaves out of his/her literature. The topic of historical Armenia- the lost motherland.
Lilit Khachatryan as a representative of a new generation has also touched upon it. She visits Kars (city in Western Armenia) in her “Before Sunrise”. Kars was an absolutely Armenian city.
Since the Armenian Genocide, the city has nearly lost its Armenian features. The writer has no way but to share her experience through the mosaic made from jumbled glimpses.
Armenian Writers #9: Azad Matian – The Voice of Diaspora
This bearded old man is a well known Armenian thinker, poet and the translator from Tehran, Iran. Matian gave lectures on Armenian and Armenian literature at the university of Isfahan.
Accordingly, he published a textbook called “The Armenian Language”. As for literal legacy, his most famous poems are “The desert flowers”, “The coat of arms of the world”.
This talented poet is a good translator as well. He translated “Narek” after Grigor Narekatsi in Persian.
Armenian Writers #10: Varand – The Professor of Armenian Literature
Varand is another Iran-based poet, author, playwright, painter and translator with Armenian origins.
This Armenian writer has published 27 collections of poetry and translations. This outstanding man was honored as the Professor of Armenian literature for his contribution to the Armenian literature.
Varand is best-known for his “The Road of the Sun”, “Mask and Mirror”, “The Epical Hayk”, etc.
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