The International Armenian Literary Alliance launches Yerevan chapter

IALA Executive Director Hovsep Markarian speaking at the launch of IALA’s Yerevan chapter (Photo: Arpi Ghambaryan)

YEREVAN—On May 26, 2024, the International Armenian Literary Alliance (IALA), a nonprofit organization that supports and celebrates writers by fostering the development and distribution of Armenian literature in the English language, launched its Yerevan chapter.

The event, which took place at Common Ground Books & Spirits, was attended by Founder Olivia Katrandjian, Executive Director Hovsep Markarian, Armenia-based IALA members as well as partners and guests from the American University of Armenia, the Tumanyan International Storytelling Festival team, h-pem, Creative Armenia, Pink Armenia, the Women’s Support Center and the French Embassy in Armenia.

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“It was incredibly rewarding to hear from so many members how IALA has already bolstered their literary careers,” said Katrandjian. “Over the last three years, as our organization has grown into a global community, we’ve seen how much further we can go when we support each other, and I can’t wait to see how our Yerevan chapter builds upon our missions of facilitating a resurgence of Armenian literature.”

IALA Founder Olivia Katrandjian (Photo: Arpi Ghambaryan)

IALA has always operated based on what’s most useful for its members, and the Yerevan chapter will do the same and based on that organize a series of events, including but not limited to, workshops, a critique group, readings featuring authors with new publications, social hours and so on, explained Markarian. “I am proud and excited to start this new chapter in Yerevan, surrounded by IALA’s wonderful Armenia-based members and partners,” he added.

Thomas Toghramadjian (Photo: Arpi Ghambaryan)

“As an aspiring translator of Armenian literature, I faced the question again and again of what to do with my work,” said Thomas Toghramadjian, a recipient of IALA’s 2023 Israelyan English Translation Grant. “Through IALA and the Israelyan grant, I found not only the support necessary to dedicate myself to a major translation project, but a group of talented and passionate individuals who share the same commitment to cultivating Armenian literature in the 21st century and bringing it to a wider audience.” 

Nyree Abrahamian (Photo: Arpi Ghambaryan)

“It was during the IALA mentorship that I really started thinking of myself as a poet,” said Nyree Abrahamian, one of the participants of IALA’s inaugural Mentorship Program. “Beyond the practical skills and the insights that my mentor shared with me, it was the sense of fellowship being part of a community of writers. At the end of the program, we had an online reading. It was my first time sharing my poetry publicly, and it was such a powerful feeling of connection. I knew I wanted more of it.”

Anna Matevosyan (Photo: Arpi Ghambaryan)

Anna Matevosyan, a 2022 IALA mentee, said: “I think the most important part of the Mentorship Program was that being an Armenian, I was mentored by an Armenian who could understand my writing and mentality much better than a non-Armenian mentor would…all the conversations on writing I got to have with my mentor, all the advice she gave me are irreplaceable.”

To become a IALA member and to support its programming, visit www.armenianliterary.org.

On July 21, 2024 at 1 p.m. EST, join IALA Off the Clock, the organization’s third annual virtual meet and greet event. Learn more and register here.

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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