International Armenian Literary Alliance launches 2021 Young Armenian Poets Awards

Designed by Steve Altan

The International Armenian Literary Alliance (IALA) has launched the inaugural Young Armenian Poets Awards, a contest for high school-aged writers from around the world.

The inaugural Young Armenian Poets Awards will provide a platform for emerging Armenian writers between the ages of 14-18. Submissions will be read by IALA board members and judges Gregory Djanikian, Mashinka Firunts Hakopian, Alan Semerdjian and Raffi Wartanian. Awards will be granted for the top three poems, which will be published in the online cultural arts magazine h-pem. Winners will each receive a $50 award. Additionally, one of the three writers selected will be invited to serve as IALA’s Young People’s Laureate for 2021 and join the organization’s biannual advisory board meetings to voice the needs of the future generation of Armenian writers. 

Deadline for submission is April 30, 2021.

“We’re hoping to honor the next generation of Armenian poets with an opportunity to be read and a platform to be recognized for their work,” says contest director Alan Semerdjian.

“At h-pem we highlight the importance of giving voice to the young generation,” says Loucig Guloyan-Srabian of h-pem. “In line with the mission of our parent organization, Hamazkayin, we are always eager to open up to new possibilities when it comes to the rejuvenation of Armenian culture and the expression of the nuances of Armenian identity. Our partnership with IALA aims to nurture literary appreciation by focusing on creative writing as part of the universal cultural expression, thus helping Armenians to connect with each other.” 

IALA encourages submissions from any young writer who identifies as Armenian, no matter gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, creed, national origin, socio-economic class, educational background, personal style/appearance, citizenship and immigration status or political affiliation. 

Those selected for publication will read their winning poems at an event in September. 

IALA’s board of directors includes Olivia Katrandjian, Nancy Agabian, J.P. Der Boghossian, Arthur Kayzakian, Shahé Mankerian, Lola Koundakjian, and Levon Golendukhin. The advisory board includes Alan Semerdjian, Aline Ohanesian, Arlene Avakian, Arevik Ashkharoyan, Arminé Iknadossian, Gregory Djanikian, Lory Bedikian, Mashinka Firunts Hakopian, Nancy Kricorian, Peter Balakian and Raffi Joe Wartanian.

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