Hamazkayin Minas and Kohar Tölölyan Prize in Contemporary Literature Winners Announced

Minas and Kohar Tölölyan, the 20th century Armenian literary critic and his wife, after whom the prize is named

WATERTOWN, Mass.—The Hamazkayin Armenian Educational and Cultural Society of Eastern United States is pleased to announce the winners of the second Minas and Kohar Tölölyan Prize in Contemporary Literature. Aida Zilelian was chosen for her work entitled The Legacy of Lost Things, and Arto Payaslian (Vaun) was chosen for his collection of poetry entitled Isinglass.

Zilelian is a fiction writer whose stories have appeared in numerous journals and several anthologies. Her first novel, “The Hollowing Moon,” was one of the first runners-up of the Anderbo Novel Award. Her second novel, “The Legacy of Lost Things” is about an Armenian family who immigrates to Queens, New York, and their struggles to assimilate to the American culture. The “Legacy of Lost Things” was recently accepted for publication (Bleeding Heart Publications) and is slotted for release in July 2014.

Arto Vaun’s first book of poems, “Capillarity,” was published in 2009. His new book, “Isinglass,” is forthcoming in 2015. His most recent CD, “The Cynthia Sessions,” was released last year. He is the poetry editor at Glimpse Journal and recently moved to Yerevan, where he is a professor of English Literature at the American University of Armenia.

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 Minas and Kohar Tölölyan Prize in Contemporary Literature 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. 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 $1,500 per winner associated with the prize, made possible through the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Edward and Vergine Misserlian of San Francisco, Calif.

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 winners of the Prize were announced at Hamazkayin’s Annual Pan Gathering on May 3 in Chicago.

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.

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