OCA PEOPLE: YELENA ASLANYAN

OCA Magazine: Tell us about yourself and your activity / work 

Yelena Aslanyan: Born in 1961, father was an engineer, mother is a doctor, by the way, my mother still works as a doctor in a clinic, she was recently awarded an honorary diploma. I live in Yerevan, married, have an adult son and a daughter. My first profession involved programming, I worked in this specialty for more than twenty years and taught in university. My first stories were written twenty years ago, and immediately started being published in “thick” literature magazines. Recognition from readers was followed by the recognition of literary critics. When my “Getashen” story was awarded the Diploma of the joint competition of the Writers’ Union of Armenia and the Ministry of Defense of Armenia, it was called one of the most piercing stories about the Karabakh war, the story was spread over electronic resources (without the author’s knowledge) and was reprinted from one site to another. After my prose passed the test of time, I had to make a choice – it was already impossible to combine my favourite work as a programmer and writer. I chose literature and journalism. For example, an analytical article about Nogales’s book “Four Years Under the Crescent”, first published in “Literary Armenia”, was then published in “Russkiy Vestnik” in Moscow and was a resounding success. 

I am the author of four books and four miscellanies, two of which are international. At the request of the UNHCR I wrote a book «At the crossroads» about refugees. It was a great honour for me to be elected in ECG Corporate Council and to be entrusted with the honourable mission of the Guild Ambassador to Armenia. One of the undoubted creative successes was the novel Three Distichs”, winner of two international literary contests and the ECG film festival in the nomination “Book Trailer”. 

OCA: What is “Eurasianism” for you? 

YA: For me, “Eurasianism” is my essence: my childhood, the same school’s programmes throughout the space from the Baltic and Sakhalin, Murmansk and Yerevan; my youth with construction teams in Tyumen and on Lake Baikal; our common pain of Afghanistan and the collapse of the USSR; our common Victory in 1945; our common Russian language and the history of our countries, which a interconnected by thousands of threads. By the way, the novel “Three Distichs” can be considered as a literary reflection of the idea of Eurasian integration, because all the heroes of the novel both spiritually and “territorially” belong to the space that gave birth to them, a single Eurasian space, which determines the affinity despite the post-Soviet borders. 

OCA: What are your favorite artists? 

YA:Lewis Carroll, Mikhail Bulgakov, opera conductor Konstantin Orbelian 

OCA: Have you taken part in the events of the Eurasian Creative Guild (London)? 

YA: I organized the Meeting of the Eurasian Creative Guild in Yerevan in 2019, it was a huge success and widely covered in the media. Also, I took part in the book forum and festival Open Eurasia in Brussels. 

OCA: What does the Eurasian Creative Guild mean to you, and how did it influence your creativity / activity? 

YA: The Eurasian Creative Guild gave me wings and allowed me to get off into the world of big creativity. So, I entered the world of cinematography thanks to the ECG & Romford Film Festival. I met professional directors and producers, it was amazing. And this year I took part in the film festival with two nominations, nomination “book trailer” and the new for me “music film”. Of course, the creation of a musical film dedicated to the creativity of Cyril Scott was a completely new experience, which means a new facet in my creative life. 

OCA: Do you have any personal projects that you would like to talk about? 

YA:I would like to tell about the “The Daughter of a Kurd” project, which includes two stages: publishing the book “Kurdish Daughter” in four languages (Armenian, Kurdish, Russian and English), and a presentation in Yerevan, Moscow and Los Angeles (because there are many Armenians). The events described in the book take place in January 1990, a symbolic time for all those who lived at that time in the USSR. And the fate of the main character Anahit is a bridge from the past to the future over the unhealed wounds of 1915. The artistic value of the story can be judged by the fact that it is included in the curriculum of Kurdish schools in Armenia. In addition, the book received a special diploma “For Solar Creation” at the German International Literary Competition “Buch des Jahres” in 2017. The book describes the events of 1915 in a completely new way, overcoming “the effect of tiredness” about a topic that has not received a solution for more than a hundred years. 

OCA: What projects have you participated in and in which do you plan to participate? 

YA: I have been participating in the Open Eurasia literature contest since 2014 and have already submitted my works for the contest this year. I also sent an application for the Almanac “Voices of Friends”. I sent two videos to the ECG film festival, and dream about taking part in the forum in Rome. 

OCA: What would you wish the members of the Guild just starting their career? 

YA: I would advise them to take part as much as possible in the projects offered by the Guild, try themselves constantly in new genres and enjoy creativity and communication with interesting personalities, enter into discussions, share thoughts, reflect on thoughts of spiritually close people.