Happy anniversary to ARI Literature Foundation! We are 5 years old!

It has been already 5 years that we are implementing projects aimed at the development of publishing industry, writing and reading in Armenia, intercultural dialogue and representation of Armenian literature worldwide.

Our wonderful Advisory Board, partners and good friends both in Armenia and abroad have been very supportive. Without them none of these would be possible.

Through this short period of time ARI Literature Foundation faced many challenges that were doomed to weaken it: COVID outbreak, second Artsakh war in 2020 and economic challenges that followed. But what doesn’t destroy us, makes us stronger.

Here is a short report on all the projects that were fulfilled by ARI Literature Foundation in these 5 years.

Write in Armenia International Writing Camp implemented in November 2018 created an opportunity for young writers to get together in a ten-day extensive creative writing program to learn from each other and about each other. The program of the camp was developed in cooperation with the International Writing Program of the University of Iowa and based on their model of Between the Lines program.

IWC consisted of lectures on literature and other creative disciplines, writing sessions, sessions on photography, video and onstage performances, team building and communication exercises, readings, group discussions, cultural tours, and a lot of fun including a Christmas celebration well ahead of it.

The project was supported by US Embassy in Armenia with funding from US State Department.

Let’s Read! Book Club («ԱՐԻ կարդանք» ակումբ) is a reading promotion initiative aimed at cultivating reading habits from an early age, making reading an attractive tool for gaining knowledge, and at the same time a pastime competitive with other entertainment options of the digital era.  The ‘Let’s Read’ Book Club activities are targeted at strengthening reading, creative writing, critical thinking and public speaking skills of the elementary and middle school students.

In 2019 the pilot program of the book club was implemented and became a huge success with dozens participants who took part in readings, did writing exercises, visited a bookstore and a printing house to learn more about the process of publishing a book and getting it to the readers.

Though 2020 COVID outbreak ruined our plans to repeat the project in the larger format, we implemented it online by means of Q&A and videos from our readers. The implementation of the project was possible due to a fundraising campaign where more than 30 sponsors and we thank them for their support.

In 2022, Keer & co café hosted the Let’s Read Program. The book entitled “Until My Hair Grew Longer Again” in Western Armenian was selected for the reading. This selection was conditioned by the idea of breaking the stereotype, which states that “Western Armenian is hardly perceived by the Eastern  Armenians”. Our target was the children, because they are more open to new experiences and are not misguided by the stereotypes.

Zabel International Women Writers’ Forum created a platform for women writers from all over the world to tell their stories about the challenges they face on the way towards success and recognition, their stories of failure and disappointment, and inability to resist the urge of writing and finally the challenges of our times. website features the program of the forum consisting of speeches, master classes, interviews, panel discussions and other events. 

Apart from Armenian and Diaspora Armenian writers’ presentations we have already implemented issues with German writers and Turkish writers. These projects were supported by Goethe Institute and Eurasian Partnership Foundation. We do hope that next year this project will flow into a bigger thing: Zabel International Women Writers’ Festival which will host women writers from all over the world here in Armenia..

The Armenian Communities Department of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation has launched The Calouste Gulbenkian Translation Series Project, which aims to make fundamental texts in the humanities and the social sciences available in Armenian. The coordinator of the project in Armenia is ARI Literature Foundation.

In the framework of the project, a series of valuable humanitarian and sociological works by world-renowned authors of the 20th and 21st centuries, which have not been translated into Armenian before, are being published in eastern and western Armenian translation.

This initiative will also contribute to the modernization of the Armenian language and the introduction of a new terminological vocabulary.

Four titles have already been published so far, among them Remnants of Auschwitz: The Witness and the Archive by Giorgio Agamben, The Century by Alan Badiou, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society by Jürgen Habermas and The Archaeology of Knowledge by Michel Foucault. For more information please visit the project page at

In 2020 ARI Literature Foundation started its publishing activities. The mission of ARI PRESS is to publish literature in both Eastern and Western Armenian languages with special target on non-fiction titles on literary and art theories, education and fiction titles by valuable Armenian writers of late soviet generation.

The first publication of ARI PRESS was made possible due to collaboration with the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, as a result of which a series of books by Krikor Beledian dedicated to his 75th anniversary were released.  

A set of three brochures of “What is an Apparatus”, “What is Contemporary” and “The Friend” by Giorgio Agamben in western Armenian translation were published. This publication was initiated by the translator of the essays Movses Der Kevorkian.

These publications were done targeting young readers, students thus they have a user-friendly, easy-carrying and attractive pocketbooks formats.

ARI Press has also published Tenny Arlen’s collection of poems, Saying with Passion Why I Am Here. Born and raised in the USA, Tenny decided to write in her “native,” but at the same time adopted language, Armenian, which she started to learn at age 21.

ARI Literature Foundation with support of Hyestart reestablished PEN Armenia Center, which was first initiated in Armenia in 1991 by Gevord Emin, but stopped functioning in 2000s. Since 2017 the PEN Armenia Center, headed by President Armen Ohanyan revived its membership with PEN International and is implementing projectss . You can visit PEN Armenia Center’s website at for more information.

ARI Literature Foundation took part at Frankfurt Book Fair 2018 with an international panel discussion Responsibility of Writing: The Role of the Word in the World of Politics.

ARI Literature Foundation invited two Armenian writers and activists Armen of Armenia and Marine Petrossian for a panel discussion to talk about the power of words. An acclaimed Georgian writer Dato Turashvili also joined the panel to share another success story from the same region.

ARI Literature Foundation was also present at International London Book Fair 2022 to present its publications and well as all publications supported by the Armenian Communities Department of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. The Armenian Pavilion at London Book Fair was possible by the support of CGF and hard work by Armenian Pavilion board headed by Mr. Charle Malaas.

As surprising as it may be, there is neither publishers’, nor translators’ associations in Armenia. Understanding the importance and the need for establishing those, ARI Literature Foundation, with small but firm steps, is preparing grounds for the realization of the idea. Within the past years we have developed a database of literary translators from and into Armenian and hosted in on our website. You can see it at The data base is being updated constantly.

We do hope that this will help in developing Armenian book market, creating healthy competition and cooperation between publishers, translators and make their work more effective as well as productive.