On Sunday, February 23, 2003, Barnes & Noble Booksellers presented four well-respected Armenian authors to sign and discuss their books on Fresno Armenians, Armenian culture, historical geography, and paleography in an “Armenian Heritage Celebration.”
About forty people from the Fresno community came to the Barnes & Noble “Celebration,” that offered refreshments (including traditional Armenian pastries), a brief presentation of each book, and an opportunity to meet with each author.
The four authors were Berge Bulbulian, The Fresno Armenians; Dr. Arra Avakian, The Eaglet; Dr. Robert Hewsen, Armenia: A Historical Atlas; and Dr. Dickran Kouymjian, Album of Armenian Paleography. Each author gave a brief description of the content of his book, and reflected on the hard work and effort that went into the writing and development of it.
The presentation began with Berge Bulbulian discussing his first book, The Fresno Armenians, which focuses on the Armenian community ranging from Bakersfield to Modesto. It touches on the early arrival of the first Armenians in Fresno and the many tribulations they underwent. The book also provides information on the rapid development of the community and the history behind it. In its third printing, The Fresno Armenians, has already sold 2,700 copies.
The second author to present, Dr. Arra Avakian, introduced his historical-romantic novel, The Eaglet. The novel takes place in mid-fifth century Armenia, which is by that time a feudal state within the tyrannical monarchy of ancient Persia. The story revolves around the Christian Armenians who were ordered by the Persians to renounce their faith. Having written mostly academically related material in the past, this is Dr. Avakian’s first novel.
The third author to speak, Dr. Robert Hewsen, presented his book, Armenia: A Historical Atlas, which is an accumulation of 341 pages, 278 color maps, five chronological sections and an extensive 20-page bibliography. There are about 40 full-page maps that show the whole of Armenia at different periods in its history, along with other specific sections showing ancient, medieval and modern periods within the country. With the extensive research and traveling involved, Armenia: A Historical Atlas, would be an excellent addition to a library for those interested in the history and geography of ancient and modern Armenia.
The director of the Armenian Studies Program at California State University, Fresno, Dr. Dickran Kouymjian spoke about his new book, Album of Armenian Paleography. Having been released in 2002, the book is an illustrated history of the development of the Armenian script. Recommended for libraries and specialists, the book’s purpose is to present to the academic world a series of dated examples of Armenian manuscripts, from the oldest surviving ones which are dated sometime between 852 and 861 AD to more modern examples. Along with Dr. Kouymjian, the co-authors of this reference work, Dr. Michael Stone and Dr. Henning Lehmann; they spent twelve years producing the book of 545 folio pages and 220 colored plates.
At the close of the event, spectators were encouraged to further meet the authors and purchase their books to be personally signed. While the crowd mingled, traditional Armenian music was played throughout the store. Each author’s contribution to the literary world of Armenian studies is duly noted and greatly appreciated.
For more information, you can call Barnes & Noble Booksellers at (559) 437-0484 or visit them on the web at www.bn.com.