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Zabel Yessayan: Great Writer and Humanitarian

The Cultural Hour at Haigazian University Commemorates the 130th Anniversary of Prominent Armenian Writer Zabel Yessayan
Azadouhi Kalaydjian Simonian lectures on "Zabel Yessayan: Great Writer and Humanitarian"

Beirut, November 5, 2008- On October 30, 2008, on the occasion of the 130th anniversary of prominent Armenian writer, Zabel Yessayan, Mrs. Azadouhi Simonian, former lecturer of English at the Lebanese American University, writer and panelist, delivered a lecture entitled "Zabel Yessayan: Great Writer and Humanitarian", at the Cultural Hour in the Haigazian University Auditorium.

Mrs. Simonian, who is the author of numerous articles and books on Women's Rights and Armenian Literature, was introduced to the audience by Dr. Arda Ekmekji, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
Ekmekji considered the Cultural Hour "a monthly forum to build inter-cultural bridges and raise an awareness of our common cultural heritage". She introduced Zabel Yessayan as "one of the best figures of the early 20th century Armenian literature, and a great champion of human rights and women's liberation."

Mrs. Simonian presented Zabel Yessayan by quoting the great critic Hagop Oshagan as being "one of the greatest writers of western Armenian fiction, if not the greatest."
Simonian explained that Yessayan's main contribution to Armenian literature is seen in the psychological aspect of her fiction. "Her analysis of the tender feelings of a woman's soul, the nuances of love, the suffering and revolt lived by women, is what characterizes Yessayan's prose", Simonian noted.

Simonian underlined the shift in Zabel Yessayan's writings after the Armenian Genocide in 1915. In the post 1915 era, Zabel Yessayan's literature was concerned with the consequences and psychological repercussions of the Armenian Genocide. During that period, she wrote, "The Agony of People" (1922), "The Last Cup"(1917), "My Soul in Exile" (1922), and "Retreating Forces"(1923).

Simonian also highlighted the important phase of Yessayan's life, after 1933, when she settled in Yerevan, and later was arrested by the Stalinists and sent into exile in Siberia, where she died in prison in 1943. In that period, Yessayan published her most important volumes, the "Shirt of Flame" (1934), and the "Gardens of Silihdar" (1935)

Simonian concluded her lecture by presenting the audience with a list of Yessayan's most important and impressing works, few of which the Haigazian libraries (Derian Armenological Library, and Barsoumian Library) had displayed for the occasion.

Mira Yardemian
Public Relations Director
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