‘Armenian-American Sketches’ wins 2020 Sona Aronian Armenian Studies Book Prize

Armenian-American Sketches book cover

The National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR) announced “Armenian-American Sketches” by Bedros Keljik was one of two books selected as the winner of the 2020 Dr. Sona Aronian Book Prizes for Excellence in Armenian Studies. The book is Volume 8 in the Armenian Series, published by The Press at California State University, Fresno, and available from Amazon, Abril Books, and the NAASR bookstore.

“This is a great honor for the Armenian Series of The Press as it recognizes the talents of the translators of the book: the late Aris Sevag, Dr. Vartan Matiossian, and Dr. Lou Ann Matossian,” said Barlow Der Mugrdechian, Berberian Coordinator with the Armenian Studies Program. “The prize is also important recognition for the Armenian Series, as we have now published 12 monographs. This will raise the profile of the Armenian Series, adding to its already national and international recognition.”

Armenian-American Sketches includes 29 short stories written originally in Armenian by Bedros Keljik. Twenty of the short stories were translated by Aris Sevag, one by Lou Ann Matossian. Eight of the stories published, initially in Baikar, were translated by Vartan Matiossian. The book was co-edited by Christopher Atamian and Barlow Der Mugrdechian.

“Keljik’s stories offer us a glimpse into the soul of the Armenian people, whether in their historic homeland or finding their way in America,” said Bishop Daniel Findikyan, Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern).

Armenians began arriving in America in large numbers at the end of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. They established themselves in communities throughout the United States, maintaining their Armenian culture while also becoming acclimated to life in America. In Armenian-American Sketches, author Bedros Keljik brings to life this period in Armenian-American history. With keen observation, Keljik provides the reader with an often-humorous insight into that life, with all of its sadness and joy, with the sense of community, and with the immigrants’ hard work and challenges. This book will appeal to any reader who seeks to understand the immigrant experience in the United States.

Armenian-American Sketches book cover

The other winner of the 2020 Sona Aronian Armenian Studies Book Prize is Prof. Houri Berberian for “Roving Revolutionaries: Armenians and the Connected Revolutions in the Russian, Iranian, and Ottoman Worlds” from the University of California Press.

The mission of The Press is to publish great literature by both emerging and established voices, scholarly books that expand the horizons of human knowledge, and other works that promote the rich cultural heritage of California’s Central Valley. The Press, housed within the College of Arts and Humanities at Fresno State, is the only university press in the California State University system.

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The College of Arts and Humanities provides a diverse student population with the communication skills, humanistic values and cultural awareness that form the foundation of scholarship. The college offers intellectual and artistic programs that engage students and faculty and the community in collaboration, dialog and discovery. These programs help preserve, illuminate and nourish the arts and humanities for the campus and for the wider community.

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