AUA Hosts Public Reading with Five Contemporary American Writers

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YEREVAN, Armenia – On October 22, 2014, the American University of Armenia (AUA) hosted a public reading with five contemporary American writers and poets in AUA’s Manoogian Hall. The event, titled, “Reading in Armenia: American Writers on Tour,” was hosted by AUA’s College of Humanities & Social Sciences in partnership with the U.S. Embassy in Armenia, the Armenian Literature Foundation and the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa. It featured poets and writers Gish Jen, Mary Hickman, Peter Balakian, Chris Merrill, and Gregory Orfalea.

The event was well attended by members of both the AUA community and the general public. The intention of the event was to introduce and share works by contemporary U.S. writers with the Armenian community. It also aimed to promote literature and translation, with some of the readings being translated into Armenian by the students in AUA’s Certificate of Translation program.

During the event, the writers took turns reading selections of their works, while the audience was encouraged to pick up available handouts and read along. The event concluded with a Question & Answer session which covered topics such as travel, individual and national identity, and best writing practices.

Peter Balakian, a prominent Armenian-American writer, spoke about the impact of events such as this, especially in Armenia. He stated, “I really hope this will be a kind of bridge that will continue to evolve between our two cultures.”

Every year, the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa organizes a reading tour to a country or region that is not known for having close literary ties with contemporary America. This reading is part of a series of events taking place across Yerevan with the goal of introducing Armenians to the contemporary American literary scene and giving them the opportunity to meet and hear from distinguished writers. The tour will include seminars, readings, discussions, and meetings with local publishers.

Founded in 1991, the American University of Armenia (AUA) is a private, independent university located in Yerevan, Armenia and affiliated with the University of California. AUA provides a global education in Armenia and the region, offering high-quality, graduate and undergraduate studies, encouraging civic engagement, and promoting public service and democratic values.


From left to right: Gregory Orfalea, Peter Balakian, Chris Merrill, Gish Jen, Mary Hickman


Members of the audience listen and read along with the authors.

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