WATERTOWN, Mass.—The Hamazkayin Armenian Educational and Cultural Society of the Eastern United States this week announced the winners of the second Minas and Kohar Tölölyan Prize in Contemporary Literature. Aida Zilelian was chosen for her work, The Legacy of Lost Things, and Arto Payaslian (Vaun) was chosen for his collection of poetry, entitled Isinglass.
Zilelian is a fiction writer whose stories have appeared in numerous journals and several anthologies. Her first novel, The Hollowing Moon, was one of the first runners-up of the Anderbo Novel Award. Her second novel, The Legacy of Lost Things, is about an Armenian family who immigrated to Queens, N.Y., and their struggles to assimilate to the American culture. The Legacy of Lost Things was recently accepted for publication (Bleeding Heart Publications) and is slotted for release in July 2014.
Arto Vaun’s first book of poems, Capillarity, was published in 2009. His new book, Isinglass, is forthcoming in 2015. He is the poetry editor at Glimpse Journal and recently moved to Yerevan, where he is a professor of English literature at the American University of Armenia. His most recent CD, “The Cynthia Sessions,” was released last year.
Named after one of the major Armenian literary critics of the second half of the 20th century and his wife, a devoted teacher of that literature for decades, the annually awarded Minas and Kohar Tölölyan Prize in Contemporary Literature recognizes the work produced by talented writers working in North America. The prize is intended to encourage new work in the major genres of literary production, as they are currently understood in North America. Works in Armenian, English, French, and Spanish are considered, as long as the authors are of Armenian ancestry, and/or the work has an Armenian theme or revolves around an Armenian topic. A financial award of $1,500 per winner is also associated with the prize, made possible through the generosity of Edward and Vergine Misserlian of San Francisco, Calif.
The jury judging all submissions was comprised of Dr. Sima Aprahamian (Montreal), Dr. Vartan Matiossian (New York/New Jersey), Gourgen Arzoumanian (California), Mr. Yervant Kotchounian (California), and Prof. Khachig Tölölyan (Connecticut) under the leadership of Dr. Ara Nazarian. The winners were announced by Nazarian at Hamazkayin’s Annual Pan Gathering on May 3 in Chicago.