LOS ANGELES—Last month, Sardarabad Bookstore and Sosé and Allen’s Legacy Foundation launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund “Awakening,” the first 3-Volume English language translation of Malkhas’s classic 1933 Armenian novel “Zartonk.” With four days remaining in the campaign, the project has already surpassed its funding goal, but supporters are encouraged to contribute in order to receive their copy of the translation set for publication this summer.
“We believe that literary translation can play an important role in both preserving culture and in promoting cultural exchange. Our project has brought together a talented team of individuals. Our translator, Simon Beugekian, our editor Dr. Carole Viers-Andronico, and our designer, Sako Shahinian have worked tirelessly over the past several years to make the powerful story of “Awakening” accessible to the English speaking reader,” said project Editorial Director Talar Chahinian.
“Awakening” tells the story of young Armenians who come of age during a period in Armenian history known as zartonk. Meaning awakening in Armenian, zartonk refers to the rise of collective consciousness among Armenians living across three empires: Russian, Ottoman, Persian. Through the entangled lives of its characters, “Awakening” recounts stories of activism and heroism, love and camaraderie that emerge out of years of servitude, oppression, and ignorance. The story develops over a fifteen year period (1903-1918) and offers glimpses into the Armenian revolutionary movement, the 1915 genocide, and the establishment of the first independent Armenian Republic.
Following its initial publication in 1933, “Zartonk” was reproduced in serial form and reprinted in various diaspora communities. Over the course of its many publication runs, “Zartonk” became a household staple and an emblematic piece of popular literature for generations of Armenians growing up in diasporic communities. The novel’s action-filled, page-turner quality, its central romantic love story, and its vivid descriptions of Armenian life in the villages of the Ottoman empire or central cities of the Caucasus have inspired diaspora Armenians searching for their own history.
The first-ever English translation aims to make the story accessible to a global audience and inspire a new generation of “awakening.” Click here for more information on the project and to contribute.