By Taleen Kupelian
PARAMUS, N.J. — With the 101st Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide quickly approaching, now is a more poignant time than ever to celebrate the Armenian culture rather than mourn its loss. Accomplished author, scientist, professor, playwright, poet, translator, actor, literary and theater critic, and director, Dr. Herand M. Markarian does just that with his latest publication, an anthology titled The Martyred Armenian Writers (1915-1922).
All those present at the Armenian Presbyterian Church on March 18th, heard the words of the greats brought to life in a moving performance with help from a number of the community’s youth — Nick Aynilian Jr., Raffi Aynilian, Vatche Demirjian, Richard Hekemian, Anoush Kalachian, Niree Kaprielian, and Melani Salibian.
This special event, titled “The Literary Works of 13 Armenian Martyred Writers,” began with remarks by AMAA Executive Director/CEO Zaven Khanjian and included a brief biography of the honored guest. Khanjian qualified the literature of the 19th and early 20th centuries “as superb, distinct …and deserving to be read, enjoyed and spread.” Markarian’s enlightening slide show that followed these remarks highlighted the accomplishments of the 13 writers featured in his book.
Markarian’s anthology is brilliantly segmented into three parts, each one a pertinent background about the time the subject matter was written. The first part contains general introductions to Western Armenian literature of the 19th century. The second part contains a foundation for understanding the Armenian Genocide. In the final section, the readers are provided with short biographies of 13 of the most beloved Armenian writers of the era along with a bibliography of their writing and excerpts from each author (in English).
While there are certain nuances that may get lost in translation, Markarian’s anthology is as good as it gets. Markarian (with skillful help) has translated the works of the 13 featured authors. In his book, the author beautifully records the classic and powerful words of the martyred Armenians during the Armenian Genocide proving that whether it’s one or 101 years that have passed, these writings have truly stood the test of time.