The International Armenian Literary Alliance (IALA) will officially launch with a virtual reading by Armenian writers from around the world, hosted on Zoom on March 21, 2021 at 1 p.m. EDT. At the launch, the 2021 lineup, including a mentorship program for emerging Armenian writers, a competition for young Armenian poets, as well as virtual readings and panel discussions, will be unveiled. Free entry.
At the launch reading, members of IALA’s Board of Directors and Advisory Council, along with other Armenian writers and poets, will share their work and announce IALA’s mission: to support and celebrate writers. promoting the development and dissemination of Armenian literature in the English language. IALA will develop a global Armenian literary community, support established authors and promote their work, and help nurture a new generation of emerging writers. Through readings, panel discussions and interviews, we will celebrate diverse identities within our community, share Armenian literature with a wider audience and foster cross-cultural exchange. With the support of the IALA network, literature on the Armenian experience will contribute more broadly to global conversations on immigration; racial, ethnic and cultural identities; social and economic class; and gender and sexuality.
“Literature is a lifeblood of a people and a culture – we are our stories,” says founder Olivia Katrandjian. “As writers, we must support each other if we are to thrive not just as individuals, but as a literary community. As a people, Armenians must support our writers if we want the world to listen to our stories. IALA will provide a platform through which Armenian writers can be heard.
Shahé Mankerian will lead IALA’s first mentorship program in summer 2021, which will provide mentorships to emerging Armenian writers of novels, memoirs, creative non-fiction, short stories and poetry. Mentors will read and provide feedback on their mentee’s writing, and speak virtually with their mentee throughout the two-month program. IALA will organize a reading to showcase the work of mentees and mentors. Applications will be available on the IALA website later this year.
“It’s exciting to lead the mentorship program for a big reason: the program will bring together budding Armenian writers with established Armenian authors,” Mankerian said. “The experienced writer’s guidance will be invaluable to the budding storyteller.”
The first Young Armenian Poets Awards will provide a platform for emerging Armenian writers between the ages of 14 and 18. Submissions will be read by IALA Board Members and Judges Gregory Djanikian, Mashinka Firunts Hakopian, Alan Semerdjian and Raffi Wartanian. Prizes will be awarded to the three best poems, which will be published in the online cultural arts magazine h-pem. The deadline for submission is April 30, 2021.