August 8, 2017 Novelist Chris Bohjalian to Deliver the 21st Vardanants Day Lecture

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Best-selling Armenian-American author Chris Bohjalian will deliver the 21st Vardanants Day Armenian lecture, titled “Echoes of Anatolia: An Armenian-American Novelist Discovers his Literary DNA at Mid-life.” Bohjalian’s lecture, which will explore the influence of ethnic identity on literary creativity, will take place at noon on Friday, Sept. 1 in the Northeast Pavilion of the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building, located at 10 First Street S.E., Washington, D.C.

During his lecture, Bohjalian will share how the rediscovery of his Armenian ancestry affected his own work, beginning with his 2010 novel, “The Sandcastle Girls.” Bohjalian has written 19 books, including 11 New York Times bestsellers. His work has been translated into roughly 30 languages, and three of his novels have been transformed into motion pictures. Bohjalian’s most recent novel, “The Sleepwalker,” was published in January. 2017.

Bohjalian’s awards include the Armenian National Committee of America’s (ANCA) Freedom Award for his work educating Americans about the Armenian Genocide, the ANCA Arts and Letters Award and Russia’s Soglasie (Concord) Award for “The Sandcastle Girls,” the Saint Mesrob Mashdots Medal, the New England Society Book Award for “The Night Strangers,” the New England Book Award, a Boston Public Library Literary Light, a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award for Trans-Sister Radio and the Anahid Literary Award. He is also a Fellow of the Vermont Academy of Arts and Sciences.

The Vardanants Day lecture series was created to explore and present all aspects of Armenian culture and history. It is named after the Armenian holiday that commemorates the battle of Avarayr (451 A.D.), which was waged by the Armenian General Vardan Mamikonian and his compatriots against invading Persian troops who were attempting to reimpose Zoroastrianism on the Christian state. As a religious holiday, it celebrates the Armenians’ triumph over forces of assimilation.

For a list of the twenty previous Vardanants Day lectures and links to the webcast of those since the 9th in 2001, visit this Library website. The Library’s African and Middle Eastern Division is the center for the study of 78 countries and regions from Southern Africa to the Maghreb and from the Middle East and the Caucasus to Central Asia. For more information, visit

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PR 17-110
ISSN 0731-3527