Worldwide Reading Commemorating the Centenary of the Armenian Genocide on April 21, at MIT

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CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — In commemoration of the Centenary of the Armenian Genocide, Worldwide Reading for Armenia will pay tribute to great Armenian writers in a series of readings, all taking place on April 21. Sponsored by the International Literature Festival Berlin and the Lepsius Haus in Potsdam, the readings will happen in several major cities around the world.

The Worldwide Reading in the greater Boston area will focus on the literature of catastrophe and will be held at MIT, 127 Mass Ave., Cambridge, on April 21 at 7 p.m. The event is hosted by the MIT Armenian Society, and organized by Judith Saryan and Taline Voskeritchian.

“We are very pleased to be working with the MIT Armenian Society,” said Saryan. “This collaboration is a solemn, dignified memorial to the literature of the Catastrophe.”

The literary evening will center around the works of three giants of Armenian literature, Zabel Yesayan, Hagop Oshagan and Eghishe Charents, who all lived during the cataclysmic events of the Ottoman Genocide against the Armenians. While different in form and context, their works were informed by their experiences of catastrophe and exile.

Participants in the literary program include Jirair Libaridian, diplomat and historian; Nanor Kebranian, Columbia University; Susan Barba, New York Review of Books; Areg Danagoulian, MIT; Danila Jebejian Terpanjian, Harvard University; Taline Voskeritchian, Boston University; and Judith Saryan, Armenian International Women’s Association and National Association for Armenian Studies and Research.

The readings will include selections from Yes

Works by author Zabel Yesayan, as well as other Armenians, will be read.
Works by author Zabel Yesayan, as well as other Armenians, will be read.

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ayan’s nonfiction work, In the Ruins, a testimonial account of her observations and experiences as a relief worker after the massacres of Adana; Oshagan’s masterpiece, Remnants, which depicts Western Armenian life before the Genocide; and two late poems by Charents: “Sad Carousel,” a lamentation bearing witness to a history of suffering, and “To My Midday,” a lyric intermingling grief and yearning.

“The voice of literature will be the only one raised on April 21, in Armenian and English translation,” said Voskeritchian. “In reading Yessayan, Oshagan and Charents, we will pay tribute to three great writers of the Catastrophe. We will also honor literary language, as well as the art of translation, as symbolic acts of salvaging what is threatened with total destruction.”

The Worldwide Reading for Armenia is one of the numerous initiatives launched to commemorate the Centenary of the Armenian Genocide. It is organized by two cultural institutions in Germany, the International Literature Festival Berlin and the Lepsius Haus in Potsdam. The initiative will honor the memory of Armenian intellectuals rounded up and killed on April 24, 1915, by presenting public readings of the works of Armenian writers.