In honor of LGBTQ Pride Month, the International Armenian Literary Alliance (IALA), with Hye-Phen Magazine and the Queer Armenian Library, will be hosting two events dedicated to queer Armenian literature.
On June 5th at 1 pm Eastern, there will be a reading of fiction, nonfiction, poetry and experimental literature by Nyri A. Bakkalian, Armen Davoudian, Hrayr Khanjian, Lillian Avedian, Mashinka Firunts, Christopher Atamian, Milena Tadukhepa, Audrey Kouyoumdjian and J.P. Der Boghossian. The reading will be followed by a soorj and conversation hour for those who wish to stay and chat.
The second event, Aracheener, or “Firsts,” on June 12th at 1 pm Eastern, is a reading and discussion among several LGBTQ Armenian writers about the development of queer Armenian literature over the past few generations. Each of the writers, working in various genres, and representing diverse gender, sexual orientation, age, class, and geographical backgrounds, has achieved a historical first and in one case, two: Arlene Avakian is not just the author of the first Armenian American memoir by a queer woman, but the first Armenian American memoir by any woman. Moderator J.P. Der Boghossian, founder of the recently launched Queer Armenian Library (also a first), will facilitate a discussion among Armen Ohanyan, Kamee Abrahamian, Lee Williams Boudakian, Nancy Agabian, Arlene Avakian and Michael Barakiva about their work’s relationship to the queer, Armenian and queer Armenian communities, and their understanding of the sometimes paradoxical nature of being a “first.”
Both events will be hosted on Zoom, open to the public and free of charge.
The International Armenian Literary Alliance is a nonprofit organization launched in 2021 that supports and celebrates writers by fostering the development and distribution of Armenian literature in the English language. A network of Armenian writers and their champions, IALA gives Armenian writers a voice in the literary world through creative, professional, and scholarly advocacy.
The Hye-Phen was first launched in 2014 as an online magazine and global collective. Since then, our mission continues to connect and build community among queer Armenian artists, scholars, and writers, and amplify what’s been under-spoken for so long: our stories, challenges, ideas, dreams and visions for the future. We proudly operate today as a fully independent, queer, Armenian-run digital media platform and publishing collective, carving out a space that celebrates free expression, sharing histories, imagining utopia, and dismantling dystopia in and beyond the Armenian community.
Launched in 2020, The Queer Armenian Library is exclusively dedicated to literature by, about, and for Queer Armenians. The library collects and showcases essays, memoirs, novels, poetry, films, TV series and art installations from the early 20th century through today.
Click here for more information and for links to the events.