BY ALEEN ARSLANIAN
Catherine Yesayan, who has been writing Asbarez’s “Community Links” column for the past 12 years, celebrated the release of her first memoir, titled “A Woman, A Revolution, A Journey.” More than 50 friends, family and community members attended launch party on Sunday held at her residence in Glendale.
Yesayan opened the event by welcoming attendees and offering a brief description of “A Woman, A Revolution, A Journey,” which details key events throughout the author’s life in three parts. Part one, “Leaving Tehran and Arriving in California”; part two, “Growing Up in Tehran”; and part three, the “Third Act.” Yesayan then read a few excerpts from her memoir.
“The first part is about the revolution, how it happened, and a short history of Iran. The second part is about my upbringing in Iran. And the third part is the ‘third act’ of my life, when my kids moved out of the house and I had empty nest syndrome. It’s about my emotions,” Yesayan told Asbarez at the event.
Guest speakers at the book launch party included Sylvia Carrie, a friend and colleague of Yesayan’s who participated in the editing process of the memoir, Asbarez Editor Ara Khachatourian, as well as award-winning Los Angeles-based journalist Saida Pagan.
“She [Yesayan] is not only a reasonable person—so easy to get along with—but she has great ideas. I think her book is wonderful. I became a big fan,” said Carrie during her remarks.
According to Yesayan, she felt inspired to write her memoir after her uncle, Henry A. Sarkissian, published his own in 1981, titled “Tales of 1,001 Iranian Days.”
Yesayan began working on her memoir around the same time she began writing her column in the Asbarez newspaper in 2011. The column, “Community Links,” is a space where Yesayan documents her extensive travels to Armenian communities around the world. Describing writing as her “passion,” the author said that she is elated to have finally published her first memoir.
“I began writing my memoir many, many years ago and put it aside,” Yesayan told Asbarez at the book launch event. “But when Mahsa [Amini, a Kurdish Iranian teenager] was killed for not wearing a hijab, it gave me a new impetus—I said, ‘I should finish writing it.'”
In December of 1978, Catherine Yesayan, her husband, and her young daughter flew from Tehran to London for the Christmas holiday. They woke up in their hotel room the next morning to hear a radio announcement of the eruption of the Islamic Revolution and realized they could never return home.
“A Woman, A Revolution, A Journey,” an independently published book, is available for purchase on Amazon.