Tandem Fellows attended prestigious literary events

7 November 2023

Susanna Harutyunyan, 2023/ 2024 Fellow within Tandem – Author with Translator – Translator with Author Fellowship program at NEC, has recently been in a book tour in Germany for her most recent novel, Ravens Before Noah, which has been translated into German. The journey started in Munich at the Armenian Cultural Center, where the Armenian community organized a literary evening for the acclaimed author and the translator Susanna Yeghoyan, and engaged in vivid conversations about writing techniques, as well as translation and interpretation processes.

One of the most important events of the tour was her participation in the International Frankfurt Book Fair 2023, which took place from 18 to 27 October, as a “significant Armenian voice in Europe”, the German publisher Akademische Verlagsbuchhandlung Friedrich Mauke stated. Alluding to a biblical time in Ravens Before Noah – after the Genesis flood, Noah released a raven to determine if the waters had abated enough to exit the ark – Susanna Harutyunyan tells the story of a displaced community struggling for existence. Fragments of Armenian history and culture disguise in the narrative matter, of which the troubled history with the Ottoman Empire represents an essential thread.

The last stop of the tour was at Ekke Maass’ Art Centre in Berlin, where Susanna Harutyunyan presented again her book, reading extracts in Armenian in the company of a Lithuanian actress who “performed” the selections in German. This was also an occasion for the author to explain the major struggles and conflicts in the region, the most recent of which has been the mass exodus of the ethnic Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh (South Caucasus) after Azerbaijan defeated the breakaway region’s fighters.


Ani Sarukhanyan, Susanna Harutyunyan’s colleague in the above-mentioned Tandem fellowship program at the NEC, who is currently working on translating Ravens Before Noah in Turkish, has also had a fruitful scholarly travel this fall. On 18-22 October, she attended the 11st edition of the International Festival of Literature and Translation (FILIT) in Iași  (North-Eastern Romania). There, she was introduced to the literary life and the tumultuous history of the region by distinguished professor Marina Vraciu, Russian interpreter and Tandem Alumna of the New Europe College. During her stay in Iași, she had the opportunity to meet some of the most outstanding contemporary writers, “the guest stars” of the edition: Guzel Yakhina, Markus Zusak, Éric-Emmanuel Schmitt and Burhan Sönmez. The latter is also Ani Sarukhanyan’s favorite author, in whose writing style she admires the quiet, yet lucid and sharp eye over human tragedies of all kinds.