Deadline extended: IALA’s 2024 Young Armenian Poets Awards in honor of Tamar Asadourian

The submission deadline for the International Armenian Literary Alliance’s fourth annual Young Armenian Poets Awards in honor of Tamar Asadourian has been extended until June 16, 2024. YAPA, organized in partnership with h-pem, is a contest for exceptional Armenian writers between the ages of 14 and 18.

This year’s entrants are asked to submit work that explores the idea of “home.” Responses may consider physical spaces such as buildings and land as well as more abstracted notions such as the sanctuary of language, memory or the one suggested in Naguib Mahfouz’s words: “Home is not where you were born; home is where all your attempts to escape cease.”

IALA and h-pem encourage 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. Submissions will be read by IALA Advisory Board members and judges Gregory Djanikian, Arminé Iknadossian and Raffi Wartanian. Cash awards totaling $600 will be granted for the top three poems, which will be published online on IALA’s and h-pem’s websites in the fall of 2024. Winning authors will be invited to read their work at IALA’s annual Emerging Writers Showcase and receive a copy of Tamar Asadourian’s I remember you my future…

“Literature is a vital element of a people and a culture — we are our stories,” says IALA founder Olivia Katrandjian. “As writers, we must support each other if we want to thrive not only as individuals, but as a literary community. As a people, Armenians must support our writers if we want the world to listen to our stories. IALA provides a platform through which young Armenian writers can be heard.”

Poet and IALA Advisory Board member Gregory Djanikian, who serves as a judge for the program, adds that YAPA is “a wonderful way for young poets to know that their poems are being read by strangers, that their poems are afloat in the world.”

“We continue to honor and create a platform for the next generation of exciting Armenian poets who have so much to teach us,” says contest founder and director Alan Semerdjian, “and this year we’re thankful, especially, to the family of musician/poet Tamar Asadourian whose support going forward will allow us to provide increased monetary prizes and assist in the vision of the Young Armenian Poets Awards initiative.”

Tamar Asadourian (1980-2020) was an accomplished pianist, author and artist. At 16, she performed at Carnegie Hall, and was acclaimed as “an absorbing artist of uncommon sensitivity and intelligence.” While studying at the Manhattan School of Music, Asadourian was forced to give up the piano due to illness. She suffered from severe depression and dedicated herself to writing, drawing and the arts. After her untimely death, a collection of her poetry, prose and artwork was published in a volume entitled I remember you my future… (Naregatsi Art Institute, Yerevan, Armenia, 2022). Read more of Asadourian’s writing here, and read Lilit Keheyan’s reflections on her work here.

The Young Armenian Poets Awards this year and going forward are made possible by a generous donation from members of Asadourian’s family, Sam and Tamig Ekizian.

The new deadline for submissions is 11:59 p.m. (Eastern Time) on June 16, 2024. Awards are expected to be announced in the fall of 2024. 

Read previous winning poems, watch IALA’s 2023 Emerging Writers Showcase, and submit your work here.

For more details, full submission guidelines and more information on past winners, please visit IALA’s website,, or contact Alan Semerdjian, Young Armenian Poets Awards founder and director, at

The International Armenian Literary Alliance supports and celebrates writers by fostering the development and distribution of Armenian literature in the English language.

H-Pem is an Armenian cultural platform that aims to highlight Armenian art, culture and other achievements by elevating Armenian voices from all walks of life.

International Armenian Literary Alliance
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.

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