PHILADELPHIA, Pa.—The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) Eastern Region will honor author Chris Bohjalian with its highest honor, the prestigious ANCA Freedom Award, at the 7th Annual ANCA Eastern Region Banquet on Sat., Oct. 12, at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Philadelphia.
“Really, I am deeply and profoundly honored,” said Bohjalian upon learning he will be presented with the award.
Bohjalian is the critically acclaimed author of 16 books, including nine New York Times bestsellers. His work has been translated into more than 25 languages.
“We’re honored to present Chris Bohjalian the Freedom Award for his continuous efforts to raise the public’s consciousness on the atrocities of the Armenian Genocide,” said ANCA-ER Board chairperson Nora Kzirian. The Freedom Award is presented to an individual who has made tremendous contributions toward recognition of the genocide and who has pursued other issues of importance to the Armenian-American community.
Since 2007, the ANCA Freedom Award has been presented to former U.S. Ambassador to Armenia John M. Evans, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Dr. Samantha Power, U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), the late U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), former U.S. Senator Robert Dole (R-N.C.), former U.S. Senator Elizabeth Dole (R-N.C.), and Baroness Caroline Cox.
Bohjalian’s latest novel, The Light in the Ruins, debuted as a New York Times, Publishers Weekly, and national Indiebound bestseller. The book is a re-imagining of Romeo and Juliet set in Tuscany at the end of World War II.
His epic novel of the Armenian Genocide, The Sandcastle Girls, was published in paperback in April. His books have been chosen as Best Books of the Year by the Washington Post, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Hartford Courant, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, Bookpage, and Salon.
His awards include the ANCA Arts and Letters Award for The Sandcastle Girls, presented at the 2012 ANCA Western Region Banquet; the Saint Mesrob Mashdots Medal; the New England Book Award for The Night Strangers; the New England Book Award; a Boston Public Library Literary Light; and the Anahid Literary Award. His novel Midwives was a number one New York Times bestseller, a selection of Oprah’s Book Club, and a New England Booksellers Association Discovery pick.
Bohjalian has written for a wide variety of magazines and newspapers, including the Washington Post, Cosmopolitan, Reader’s Digest, and the Boston Globe Sunday Magazine. He has been a weekly columnist in Vermont for the Burlington Free Press since February 1992.
Bohjalian graduated Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude from Amherst College, and lives in Vermont with his wife, the photographer Victoria Blewer, and their daughter Grace. They are passionate supporters of Homeward Bound (the Addison County Humane Society), Burlington’s Committee on Temporary Shelter, Concord Academy, the United Church of Lincoln, and a small elementary school in rural Armenia, where this year they are funding a new fresh water and plumbing system.
Banquet co-chairs James Kzirian and Lorig Baronian, both active members of the Philadelphia Armenian community and members of the ANC of Pennsylvania, are working diligently to ensure the success of this annual fundraising event. “This is a fantastic event that truly showcases the activities and support throughout the Eastern Region. We are looking forward to a spectacular turnout to honor Chris Bohjalian for his many contributions to Armenian Americans and the general public,” Kzirian said.
The banquet will begin with an elegant cocktail reception and silent auction at 6:30 p.m., followed by a dinner and awards ceremony at 8 p.m. To purchase tickets or to make a tax-deductible donation, visit www.anca.org/erbanquet. For more information, call James Kzirian at (267) 767-0453.
The ANCA Eastern Region Endowment Fund is a 501(c)(3) charitable and educational organization that supports the Armenian National Committee of America Eastern Region in outreach to Armenian-American communities.