AUA Launches Center for Creative Writing & Locomotive Magazine
The First of Their Kind in the Former Soviet Union
Yerevan, Armenia—The American University of Armenia has launched two major initiatives: The Center for Creative Writing (CCW) and Locomotive Magazine. The center is the first such hub of creative writing and literary studies not only in Armenia but in the former Soviet Union. It will serve as a much-needed bridge between non-Armenian and Armenian writers and students of literature. Just as importantly, the CCW will be an engine of motivation for students, scholars, and all those who appreciate the value of innovative literature within any healthy society.
One of the center’s main projects is Locomotive (locomotivemag.com), a bi-annual journal of contemporary poetry and writing. It is the first world-class, non-Armenian, Anglophone literary journal edited, printed, and exported from Armenia and the former Soviet Union. Locomotive is one of AUA’s first major publications and will be available this fall at various independent bookshops around the world. The inaugural issue includes highly acclaimed poets and writers such as D.A. Powell, Tara Bergin, Stephen Burt, Gail Mazur, Carol Muske-Dukes, Scott Cairns, and Karen Van Dyck.
Arto Vaun, director of the CCW and founder/editor of Locomotive, is still a bit surprised at how quickly these initiatives got off the ground. “I’d been quietly working on creating the center and Locomotive for over a year. When I finally presented my idea to President Der Kiureghian and Provost Rhodes their enthusiasm and support reaffirmed the convictions behind the concept.”
Vaun, who is also a Senior Lecturer in English and Communications, is quick to point out that AUA is not only a university but a growing community that is bold enough to see the potential in new ideas. “AUA has been a fulfilling environment for me since I arrived in 2014, but by supporting this major initiative it is truly my home now,” Vaun explained.
The Center for Creative Writing and Locomotive share an impressive advisory board that includes acclaimed writers and scholars such as Marilyn Hacker, Lloyd Schwartz, Khachig Tololyan, Martha Collins, and Christopher Merrill. US-based journalist Liana Aghajanian and fiction writer Joanna Howard are part of the editorial board. Vaun also invited fellow AUA colleague and renowned literary translator Shushan Avagyan to be Locomotive’s translations editor. Vaun feels strongly about putting together a solid team in order to ensure sustainability. “So often, there are great ideas and much talk, but in the end, either nothing comes of it or the base isn’t thought-out enough to last long,” Vaun said. “I’ve worked hard to make sure the CCW and Locomotive stick around for years to come. And now thanks to the support from AUA and others, I believe we will.”
The CCW and Locomotive are planning various launch events to be held in the fall. Locomotive will be available at bookstores in Armenia and globally by late September. Copies can also be purchased at locomotivemag.com.
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