The Eastern Regional Executive Committee of Hamazkayin Armenian Educational and Cultural Society of United States announces the winners of the 5th Minas and Kohar Tölölyan Prize in Contemporary Literature, Mehre for his “Բացատ” collection of poems in Armenian language, and Susan Barba for her poetry collection, Fair Sun, published in 2017 by David R. Godine Publisher in Boston.
Susan Barba was born in New Jersey and educated at Dartmouth College. She earned an MFA from Boston University, and a PhD in comparative literature from Harvard University, specializing in Russian, Armenian, and English. She is a co-editor of I Want to Live: Poems of Shushanik Kurghinian (2005), translated by Shushan Avagyan. Her own poems have appeared in Poetry, The Hudson Review, The Yale Review, Antioch Review, Raritan, and other journals, and her translations from Armenian have appeared in Words Without Borders and Ararat. She has received fellowships from the MacDowell Colony and Yaddo. She is a senior editor for New York Review of Books and her most recent poetry collection is Fair Sun (2017).
Mehre (Mher Karakashian) was born in Beirut, Lebanon and educated in Notre Dame University, specializing in television and theatre production. Currently he is completing his degree in Art Education at Concordia University (Montreal).
From 1987 to 1993 he directed theater groups first in Beirut and later in Montreal. Mehre
was the producer and director of Horizon TV (Montreal) from 1991 to 2006. He collaborates with ICI Multicultural Television in documentary film projects.
Karakashian is the co-founder of the “New Literature” movement. His published works are: “Anonymous”, 1984, “Herian”, 1987 and “Love“, 1988. Mehre is a frequent contributor to “Horizon” Armenian weekly. Since 1995 he has been teaching Armenian literature, culture and history at the Sourp Hagop Armenian school in Montreal where he is also the coordinator of the Armenian program.
Named after one of the major Armenian literary critics of the second half of the 20th century and his wife, a devoted teacher of literature for decades, the annually awarded Minas and Kohar Tölölyan Prize in Contemporary Literature recognizes the work produced by talented writers working in North America. The prize is intended to encourage new work in all the major genres of literary production, as they are currently understood in North America. Works in Armenian, English, French, and Spanish are considered if the authors are of Armenian ancestry, or the work has an Armenian theme or revolves around an Armenian topic.
Hamazkayin Armenian Educational and Cultural Society’s Eastern Regional Executive initiated this prize a number of years ago to encourage and recognize those who write in the Armenian language or on Armenian topics. The financial award of $1,500 is made possible through the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Edward and Vergine Misserlian of San Francisco, California.
Members of the jury are Dr. Sima Aprahamian (Montreal), Anoush Agnerian (Montreal), Dr. Vartan Matiossian (New York/New Jersey), and Gourgen Arzoumanian (California).