In the Ruins, author Zabel Yessayan’s widely acclaimed first-hand account of the aftermath of the 1909 Turkish massacre of Armenians in Adana province, is now available in English translation from AIWA Press.
The official publication launch will be March 8, 2016, coinciding with the 2016 celebration of International Women’s Day.
At age 31, Yessayan journeyed to the scene of the 1909 massacres of Armenians in Adana to provide relief for the victims and to observe conditions. She returned to Constantinople (Istanbul) and penned In the Ruins, which heralded a new literary form, the literature of testimony, in which Yessayan documents the voices of the survivors who tell her their horrific stories and describe their emotional turmoil and terror. The book includes an appendix with selected articles and letters by Yessayan that elucidate the events of 1909 and their immediate aftermath.
From her earliest years, Zabel Yessayan championed social justice and women’s rights. She fought against the injustices she saw at school, refused to accept the restrictions placed on girls in her community, and demonstrated a fierce determination to succeed in the literary world at a time when few women were allowed entry. In addition to In the Ruins, she authored several novels, short stories, newspaper articles, and a memoir.
The Yessayan books are the latest releases in AIWA’s “Treasury of Armenian Women’s Literature” series, which makes available English-language translations of works by pioneering women authors who wrote in Eastern or Western Armenian.
Its publication follows the success of two earlier translations of books by Yessayan (1878-1943) issued by AIWA Press, The Gardens of Silihdar, a memoir of the author’s early years in her native Istanbul, and My Soul in Exile and Other Writings, a collection that highlights a novel and other assorted works. These three volumes contain some of the author’s best and most influential works and provide a picture of the scope, breath, and historical significance of her writing.
The volume is a must-read for those who want to understand the struggle for human rights in the Ottoman Empire, and it provides a useful backdrop to today’s situation in the Middle East.
The translation (by G. M. Goshgarian) and publication of In the Ruins were made possible through a generous grant to AIWA from the Gulbenkian Foundation.
In the Ruins is available directly from AIWA through mail, telephone orders, or via our website (list price $20; member price $15), and will soon be available from Amazon and from bookstores specializing in publications of Armenian interest.