Hamazkayin Announces Winner of Tölölyan Prize in Contemporary Literature

Christopher Atamian is the winner of the Minas and Kohar Tölölyan Prize in Contemporary Literature

WATERTOWN—The Hamazkayin Armenian Educational and Cultural Society of Eastern United States is pleased to announce the winner of the inaugural Minas and Kohar Tölölyan Prize in Contemporary Literature. Christopher Atamian was chosen as the winner for his translation of Nigoghos Sarafian’s The Bois de Vincennes.

Christopher Atamian is a translator, writer, and director. He produced the OBIE Award-winning play Trouble in Paradise in 2006 and was included as an invited artist to the 2009 Venice Biennale for his video Desire. His short films and videos have screened throughout the world and he publishes regularly in such publications as The Huffington Post and The New York Times and was for several years the dance critic for the now-defunct New York Press. He has written one novel, Speaking French, and is at work on several commercial musicals and film scripts.

In his activities as a translator, Atamian has translated six books from French and Western Armenian into English, including Nigoghos Sarafian’s The Bois de Vincennes. Among the other books he has translated, three have been in Armenian studies for the Middle Eastern Studies Department at Columbia University: Krikor Beledian’s Fifty Years of Armenian Literature in France, and two books by Marc Nichanian: Literature and Catastrophe and The Armenian Language Throughout History. He also translated Philippe Delma’s The Rosy Future of War (The Free Press) and is currently at work on Denis Donikian’s Vidures/Offal, an award-winning novel published on Actes Sud.

Mr. Atamian has worked in senior positions for leading media companies including ABC, Ogilvy Interactive and JP Morgan’s marketing division. He received his BA from Harvard University, his MBA from Columbia Business School and is also an alumnus of USC Film School. He has been a Fulbright, Bronfman and Gulbenkian Scholar. Atamian has been active in the Armenian community since he was a teenager and has served on the Board of the Columbia Center for Armenian Studies and as Executive Director of the Armenia Fund USA. He was the elected President two years running of AGLA NY and currently sits on this organization’s Board of Trustees.

Named after one of the major Armenian literary critics of the second half of the Twentieth century and his wife, a devoted teacher of that literature for decades, the annually awarded prize recognizes the work produced by talented writers working in North America. The prize is intended to encourage new work in all the major genres of literary production, as they are currently understood in North America, including poetry, drama, fiction, memoir, travel writing and other forms of creative non-fiction, as well as translation. Works in Armenian, English, French and Spanish are considered, as long as the authors are of Armenian ancestry, and/or the work has an Armenian theme or revolves around an Armenian topic.

The primary purpose of the Prize is to encourage and offer recognition through the award and through the ensuing publicity those who wish to write about Armenian themes and topics. There is also a financial award of $2,500 associated with the prize, made possible through the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Edward and Vergine Misserlian of San Francisco, CA.

The jury judging all submissions consists of Dr. Sima Aprahamian (Montreal), Dr. Vartan Matiossian (New York/New Jersey), Gourgen Arzoumanian (California), Yervant Kotchounian (California) and Prof. Khachig Tölölyan (Connecticut).

The Prize was announced at Hamazkayin’s Annual Pan Gathering on May 4, in Boston.

The Eastern USA region of Hamazkayin Armenian Educational and Cultural Society, a 501 c (3) not for profit organization, constitutes one of the branches of the worldwide Hamazkayin family, founded in 1928. The Eastern United States region, headquartered in Massachusetts, consists of eight chapters in Boston, Chicago, Detroit, New Jersey, New York, Philadelphia, Providence and Washington, DC.

Hamazkayin aims to empower our chapters and membership to nurture and promote Armenian arts and culture. Given our millennia long history, we are cognizant of the dynamic nature of the concept of identity. To that end, we strive to maintain our cultural identity and heritage and are committed to grow and further the contribution of the Armenian culture to the complex tapestry of world civilizations.

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