YEREVAN, Armenia – On March 27, 2015, the American University of Armenia (AUA) Certificate in Translation (CTRA) program organized a bilingual reading from a volume of stories by contemporary Armenian writers Levon Khechoyan and Hovhannes Yeranyan in Spanish translation. Spanish literature and language scholar and translator Alice Ter-Ghevondian presented the authors featured in El alambre no se percibía entre la hierba (The Wire Was Invisible in the Grass) and their Buenos Aires-based publisher Hecho Atómico.
The stories in the book focus on the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh and offer first-hand accounts of the authors’ experiences of war and its effects on human destiny. The stories appear in Spanish for the first time.
“It is more interesting and credible when you present a real, concrete person’s story than when you speak in the name of a nation or through official documents,” said Ter-Ghevondian in her introduction. “These stories are much more direct and unmediated. Our aim is to call attention to the conflict, knowing well that the resolution may not come soon.”
Armen Davtyan, a poet and member of the Writers Union, also participated in the presentation, stating, “This literature represents eyewitness testimony. It is utterly difficult to write about a traumatizing event such as war, as first you need to overcome it. I am happy that I was invited to read today the excerpts from Khechoyan’s work. I miss him very much.” Levon Khechoyan, who refused to accept a state award granted by President Serzh Sargsyan in 2013 in protest of the socio-economic and political situation in the country, passed away in January 2014.
Hovhannes Yeranyan, one of the featured authors, stated, “It’s an honor for me to have my work translated alongside Levon Khechoyan’s work. Translation is important. Without it our literature is just roaming in the mountains. I’m sure that Armenian literature will interest many foreigners.”
Ari Hajian, a repatriate from Argentina who read the Spanish translations of the stories, expressed his gratitude to Alice Ter-Ghevondian and her editor Ana Arzoumanian for “rendering the originals so faithfully.” “I literally felt the experiences that the authors tried to transmit to the reader on my skin.”
Ter-Ghevondian has translated Armenian literature into Spanish (e.g. Un idioma también es un incendio: 20 poetas de Armenia, 2013) and Spanish literature into Armenian (among others, Malvinas by Mario Sampaolesi, 2014). Her translations have been published in Armenia, Argentina, and Mexico. She has written over a hundred articles as a special correspondent for newspapers and journals in France, USA, and Armenia including Respublica Armenia, La Pensée russe and Armenian International Magazine. She currently lives in Armenia, teaches Spanish language and literature, and translates.
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.