Peter Balakian, an award-winning author and leading voice of Armenian Genocide recognition, will speak April 13 at Fresno State, following his appearance the day before in Merced to accept the 2012 Alice and Clifford Spendlove Prize in Social Justice, Diplomacy and Tolerance.
At Fresno State, Balakian will do a reading and talk about his life and writing from 2 to 3:30 p.m. in the University Student Union, Room 312-314. His presentation is free and open to campus and community members. Balakian’s appearance is sponsored by the Fresno State Armenian Studies Program.
At 6:15 p.m., the Armenian Studies Program and the University of California, Merced will co-host a public lecture by Balakian, followed by a reception at 7 o’clock at the UC Merced Fresno Center, 550 E. Shaw Ave. RSVPs are requested to 209.228.7843 or email@example.com.
The Spendlove Prize was established through a gift to UC Merced from Sherrie Spendlove in honor of her parents, lifelong Merced residents Alice and Clifford Spendlove. The annual prize recognizes an individual who exemplifies the delivery of social justice, diplomacy and tolerance in his or her work.
“Peter Balakian has been called ‘the American conscience of the Armenian Genocide,’” Spendlove said. “Our world history is incomplete without the full story of the Armenian Genocide being inscribed therein for all to see. Genocide in any part of the world in any epoch is an affront to humanity everywhere, in every time.”
April 24 is observed annually as Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day by the Armenian Students Organization at Fresno State and by Armenians around the world to commemorate the victims of the Armenian Genocide from 1915 to 1923.
Balakian’s book “The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America’s Response” won the 2005 Raphael Lemkin Prize as the best book in English on the subject of genocide and human rights. It was a New York Times Notable Book and New York Times and national best seller.
He has written five books of poems, most recently “June-tree: New and Selected Poems 1974-2000.” Balakian’s work has appeared widely in American magazines and journals and anthologies. His memoir “Black Dog of Fate,” won the PEN/Albrand Prize (1998) and was a New York Times Notable Book that year.
Balakian has been awarded Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Arts fellowships. He won the 2007 Emily Clark Balch Prize for poetry, awarded by Virginia Quarterly Review; Movses Khorenatsi Medal from the Republic of Armenia in 2007; 1986 Daniel Varoujan Prize of the New England Poetry Club; and the 1990 Anahid Literary Prize from the Columbia University Armenian Center.
For more information, contact Barlow Der Mugrdechian, Armenian Studies coordinator 559.278.2669 or firstname.lastname@example.org.