Hamazkayin Announces New Minas and Kohar Tölölyan Prize in Contemporary Literature

WATERTOWN, Mass.—The Hamazkayin Armenian Educational and Cultural Society of the Eastern United States this week announced the establishment of the Minas and Kohar Tölölyan Prize in Contemporary Literature. Named after one of the major Armenian literary critics of the second half of the 20thcentury, and his wife, a devoted teacher of that literature for decades, the annually awarded prize will recognize the work produced by talented writers working in North America.

Minas and Kohar Tölölyan

The prize is intended to encourage new work in the major genres of literary production, as they are currently understood in North America. In this expanded understanding, poetry, short stories, novels, and drama are included, as are works of creative non-fiction—a genre that includes memoirs, as well as personal, descriptive, and literary critical essays. Representatives of these genres may be offered as candidates for the prize. Work in Armenian, English, French, and Spanish will be considered, as long as the authors are of Armenian ancestry, or the work has an Armenian theme or revolves around an Armenian topic.

The primary purpose of the Tölölyan Prize is to encourage and offer recognition through the award and ensuing publicity to those who wish to write about Armenian themes and topics.

The jury charged with judging the submissions is comprised of Dr. Sima Aprahamian (Montreal), Dr. Vartan Matiossian (New York/New Jersey), Gourgen Arzoumanian (California), Yervant Kotchounian (California) and Prof. Khachig Tölölyan (Connecticut).

The winner of the prize, and its modest financial award of $2,500, will be announced at Hamazkayin’s Annual Pan Gathering in early May, with the first award to be presented in Boston on May 2013. All submissions must either be e-mailed to [email protected] as a PDF file (highly encouraged) or in hard-copy format to the Hamazkayin Tololyan Prize Committee, 80 Bigelow Ave, Watertown, MA 02472, by Dec. 31, 2012.

Submissions may consist of work published either in 2011 or 2012. Recent work that has yet to be published may also be submitted.

This award has been made possible by the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Edward and Vergine Misserlian of San Francisco, Calif.

The Eastern USA region of the Hamazkayin Armenian Educational and Cultural Society, a 501 c (3) not for profit organization, constitutes one of the branches of the worldwide Hamazkayin family, founded in 1928. Headquartered in Massachusetts, it consists of eight chapters in Boston, Chicago, Detroit, New Jersey, New York, Philadelphia, Providence, and Washington, D.C.

To learn more, visit hamazkayin-usa.org/main/HamazkayinEasternRegion.aspx.


  1. This is such a wonderful thing. They would have both been honored to have this, as well as pleased to read all the submitted work. The recipient of this award should share the love of literature as they both did.

  2. I knew Mr. & Mrs. Tololyan and their children personally, and nicer, more giving people are truly hard to find. This is such an honor for them!

  3. Minas and Kohar were my mother and father. Aside from being my cherished parents they were two of the most broadminded ahead of their times, insightful people I have ever known. Generous with their kindness, compassionate and loving. I miss them both terribly and will always remain proud of them. Passionate in their beliefs and always working to give more. Love you always my precious parents.

  4. This picture rekindled memories of my principal Minas Tololyan and Armenian language teacher, his gracious wife Kohar at Saint Nshan School in West Beirut. My parents and I knew the family. I still have vivid recollections of their days at Hotel Lux. It is only these past few days that I became aware that Hamazcain has established a Minas and Kohar Tololyan prize in contemporary literature. It is a distinct honor to have a prize named after them. Please let me know where can I make a token contribution towards the prize in their memories. Thank you.

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