Author Aris Janigian to Speak at NAASR on ‘Exile, Memory and Assimilation’

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BELMONT, Mass. — Writer Aris Janigian, author of the acclaimed novel, This Angelic Land, will give a lecture titled “Exile, Memory and Assimilation: The Armenian Experience as the Essential American Experience,” on Thursday, March 14, at 8 p.m. at the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR), 395 Concord Ave. The lecture is co-sponsored by the AGBU-YP, Boston, and NAASR.

This lecture is given in recognition of Emmanuel P. Varandyan (1902-1988), novelist (The Well of Ararat, The Moon Sails), professor of English literature at Ohio State University, NAASR Board Member and benefactor, and tireless advocate for Armenian Studies.

Janigian is considered one of the most important Armenian-American novelists working today. Each of his three critically-acclaimed novels, Bloodvine, Riverbig and This Angelic Land, places ethnic Armenian characters against the backdrop of the American cultural landscape. The first two novels are set in the Central Valley of California in the early 1960s, and the third, This Angelic Land, published last May, is set during the 1992 Los Angeles riots. In tapping themes of exile memory, and assimilation, Janigian uses the Armenian experience as a lens through which to explore the central American experience. In that context, critic D. J. Waldie of the Los Angeles Review of Books has called This Angelic Land, “Today’s necessary book.”

Holding a PhD in psychology, from 1993 to 2005, Janigian was senior professor of humanities at Southern California Institute of Architecture. He has published in genres as diverse as poetry, social psychology, and design criticism. Aside from his novels, he is co-author along with April Greiman of Something from Nothing, a book on the philosophy of graphic design.

Janigian was a contributing writer to West, the Los Angeles Times Sunday magazine, a finalist for the William Saroyan Fiction Prize and the recipient of the Anahid Literary Award from Columbia University. He is a contributing writer for thenervousbreakdown.com, and lives in Los Angeles.

More information about Janigian’s lecture may be had by e-mailing hq@naasr.org.

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