YEREVAN (Combined Sources)–"When we speak about the writings of many Twentieth century [Armenian] authors–the word tragic is inescapable; Shahan Shahnour’s mournful writings–however–in themselves reflect the whole of the suffering and tragedy of the Armenian people," stated the president of the Hrachya Ajamian Literary Institute Azad Yeghiazarian–in celebrating the 100th anniversary of Shahnour’s birth. The event was held at the Writers Union of Armenia headquarters.
One of the most well-known works by Shahnour is "Nahanch Aran’s Yerki" (Retreat without Song)–which voices the exile’s cry of despair–describing the impact of the Genocide on six survivors–who living in Paris–angrily reflect on their sense of non-belonging and powerlessness in the face of pressures to assimilate.
Shahan Shahnour was born Shahnour Kerestejian–on August 3–1903–in a suburb of Istanbul–Turkey. He graduated from Berberian High School in 1921–and started contributing to "Vosdan" paper–mostly with translations. In 1923 he moved to Paris–where he worked as a photographer–and in 1929 published his first novel written in Armenian–Retreat Without Song–which appeared periodically in Harach newspaper of Paris. In 1933–he published his second book–a collection of short stories written in Armenian–The Betrayal of Blood-Suckers. In 1937 he fell victim to a disabling bone disease (Osteolysis)–causing him great pain and suffering for the rest of his life which he spent in hospitals after he lost his home in 1939. In 1945–having partially recovered from his illness–he began writing in French under the name Armen Lubin; from then on he was acclaimed as a French writer and poet and received several literary awards. In French–he published The Furtive Passer-By–Sacred Patience–The Nightly Transport–The High Cage–and Fire With Fire. In 1962 a collection of his Armenian works were printed in Yerevan. In 1967 he published Two Red Notebooks in Armenian–and in 1971–The Open Register also in Armenian. Shahnour died on August 20–1974–in a hospital in Saint Rafael–France.
–Biography By Shant Norashkharian