AIWA THRIVE shares the stories of individuals from around the world who are positively impacting our community as they lead with purpose.
Literary Agent, Founder of ARI Literary and Talent Agency and ARI Literature Foundation
Today, we feature Arevik Ashkharoyan, Literary Agent.
Arevik Ashkharoyan is a literary agent with 10 years of experience in publishing. In 2016, she established ARI Literary and Talent Agency, representing a dozen writers of Armenian origin from all over the world. In 2018, she founded the non-profit arm of the organization, the ARI Literature Foundation, to implement projects aimed at the development of the local book market, promotion of reading and writing in Armenia and enhancing international dialogue. Projects run by the ARI Foundation include Write in Armenia International Writing Camp, Zabel International Women Writers Forum, and Let’s Read! (ARI Kardanq) book clubs.
Q: What is your life philosophy?
The motto I live by is “You are what you do.” I choose to do something I am truly passionate about in order to enjoy my work and run successful projects.
Q: We called 2020 the year of the upheaval and awakening? What were your biggest upheavals and what did they teach you? What was your awakening(s) and what did it teach you?
2020 has taught me the most important lesson of my life – regardless of the conditions that surround you, you should keep moving forward, stay focused, continue working, be flexible to the change and be ready to adapt. Movement always pushes you forward, even if it seems that you are stomping on the same spot. Life is larger than anything and neither a pandemic nor a war can stop it from flowing; it is simply your obligation to understand your role in the flow.
My greatest upheaval was during the war. I realized that instead of following the news, we need to keep momentum and continue working regardless of what was happening. It was also the greatest awakening to realize that our voice over the world is not heard because we are not present in international dialogue in almost any field. In order to be present, to be recognized and heard, we need to work together and build necessary institutions to become a part of the industries of the world, whether it is in my field of work of publishing, or any other. I started doing my part and will continue.
On a more personal level, 2020 taught me to be patient and calm, because no matter what, as the Chinese proverb states “spring will come and the flowers will blossom.”
Q: What is your hope for the future?
My hope for the future is that 2020 has taught many Armenians the same lesson as I have learned. Peace is the only word that comes to mind when I think of the future.
Q: What is your favorite thing about being Armenian/Armenians?
The feeling of belonging to probably the most complicated and challenged nation in history. It is not easy to be part of an ancient civilization with longstanding history, but it also never lets you go.
Q: How has the Armenian culture shaped / influenced you?
As compared to those who live far from our motherland, I was brought up in the Armenian culture naturally. Main influences were, probably the same as of my diaspora compatriots – the texts of Hovhannes Tumanyan as a child, the music of Aram Kachaturyan and the colors of Martiros Saryan. Each of these artists were trying to create modern Armenian values, whilst never forgetting their roots.