Writers and Participants of the Literary Ark

The guests traveled across Armenia for 10 days between October 19th and 28th 2011, and are supposed to write about their impressions, which will be published as a separate collection in the year that Yerevan will be World Book Capital.

The international participants of the project are:

Herbert Maurer (Austria), Geert van Istendael and Lies van Grimbergen (Belgium), Filip Van Zandycke (Belgium), Peeter and Laura Sauter (Estonia), Vahur Afanasjev and Mara Sabolotny (Estonia), Serge Venturini (France), Christiane Lange and Swantje Lichtenstein (Germany), David Muradian and David Matevossian (Armenia), Arlette van Laar and Serge van Duijnhoven (Holland), Claudio Pozzani (Italy), Leo Butnaru (Moldova), Jacek Pacocha (Poland).

The Armenian participants of the project in 2011/2012 are:

… (please add the names of those involved)…



Writer, translator, poet, scientist. Gentle giant from Vienna, with a tenebral voice that suits the Caucasus. Is deeply committed, in a unique and sincere way, to the armenian language, as well as to its people. Translated and edited the collection “Contemporary Armenian prose”, published it in his hometown Vienna.

Herbert Maurer, here sitting next to Christiane Lange at the balcony of Tatev's cablecar restaurant, saturday 22nd of October 2011. Pic by Leo Butnaru

Herbert Maurer, here sitting next to Christiane Lange at the balcony of Tatev's cablecar restaurant, saturday 22nd of October 2011. Pic by Leo Butnaru


Since 2001 deputy director of the LiteraturWERKstatt Berlin, responsible for the monthly programma and coordination of the main projects like poetry festival Berlin. Co-organizor of the Literature Express 2000.



Geert van Istendael was born in Ukkel (Brussels), 1947. Studied sociology and philosophy at the Catholic University Leuven (KULeuven). Worked for the National Scientific Reasearch Foundation. Subject: urban and rural planning.

1978-1993: journalist television news of the Belgian Public Television, Dutch speaking (BRT, now VRT). Subjects: Belgian politics, urban problems in Brussels, Germany.

1993 until now: independent writer.

Geert van Istendael lives in Brussels, where he writes stories, poems, fairy tales, novels and diatribes. His works have been translated into: French, German, English, Serbocroatian, Hungarian, Czech. Some of his titels: Het Belgisch labyrint (The Belgian Labyrinth), Arm Brussel (Poor Brussels),Vlaamse sprookjes (Flemish Folk Tales), Taalmachine (Language Machine, poetry), Gesprekken met mijn dode god (Talking with my dead god, novel), De Europese grondwet in verzen (The European Constitution in Verse, together with the Brussels Poetry Collective and about 50 other poets from all EU countries), Sociale zekerheid en andere gedichten (Social Security and other poems). Geert also translated quite many lyrical works of greater authors into Dutch,  a.o.: Brecht, Brel, Ghelderode, Goethe, Heine, Hölderlin, Prévert, Rilke, Yeats.

Literary prizes a.o.: Dirk Martens literary prize 1990 for Het Belgisch labyrint, Poetry Prize Brussels and the province of Flemish Brabant 2004 voor Taalmachine.

Member 2007-2009 Brussels Poetry Collective

President PEN Belgium Dutch speaking 2007-2011. Now honorary president

President KunstenfestivalDesArts Brussels (avant-garde theatre festival)

Doctor honoris causa Open University of the Netherlands

Member of the Royal Academy for Dutch Language and Literature (Gent)



Between 1992 and 1995, Filip covered the news as foreign correspondent/journalist in The Philippines, Thailand, Cambodia, Japan and Iraq. His photographs and reports are published in the magazine Panorama and the newspapers De Morgen and Het Volk. In 2006, he is lead to Albania by the writings of Ismail Kadare. A year afterwards, he travels througout Bosnia-Hercegovina reading the books of Serge Van Duijnhoven.

Pic by Leo Butnaru

Pic by Leo Butnaru

In 2008, along the lake of Palic (Serbia), he discovers an ark. Nowadays, he is looking at this world in his own way: viewing the world from his own neighbourhood, from his own window, with his own eyes, in his own peculiar language, casting a glance at everyone’s universe, over here and elsewhere. From his Window Upon The World he percieves a very simple story: a photographic chronicle, linking impressions from elsewhere to prints down here. Out of these tales, he is stripping words, illuminating them into sensible emblems, uttering them into sloGAGA’s and impersonating them into dichtHAHA’s. Some of his notes that come along with the photos are slightly poetic. Then again, some of his other writings are completely down-to-earth, e.g. the reports he wrote for the media. The images he runs across on his journey, are being remoulded into wordy photographs. He does not reshape them as a professional photographer, nor rewrite them as an author. He just putting syllabes into images. only snapshooting the world. His prints are defined by old frames, thus creating an exposure/expostion on its own. With Window Upon The World, Filip is opening up a link between far way and close by. Filip lives in Etterbeek (Brussels) and is the artistic coordinator of the social-cultural organisation http://www.hoedgekruid.be.


pic by Leo Butnaru

pic by Leo Butnaru



Estonian writer Vahur Afanasjev (1979) is known for his pulsating novels and wafting poetry, where lyric undercurrents cushion the collision magic realism and social algesia. After exploring Brussels for five years, he returned to fatherland, where his retrosceptive book “My Brussels: the Confessions of a Failed Eurocrat” is hovering in the book sale tops since the publication in May 2011. Afanasjev was born in Soviet Union, lived in Estonian Republic and currently lives in European Union. He started his literary career as a slamming poet, exploring the rude side his mother tongue, the non-indoeuropean Estonian language. He has published three poetry books, one book of short stories and three novels. His works have been published in several collections of various authors in Finnish, Russian, Romanian, Dutch and Hungarian.*

Poetry:Kandiline maailm (Square World) 2000 Kaantega viin (Wrapped Vodka or Folded Vienna or I Take with Covers) 2004 Katedraal Emajões (Cathedral in Mother River) 2006

Novels:Kastraat Ontariost (A Castrato from Ontario) 2005 Kaadrid otsustavad (Shots Decide) 2007 Kosmos (Cosmos) 2008 Kanepi kirik (Ganja Church or The Church of Kanepi Village) 2002 (a book of short stories)

Non-fiction: Minu Brüssel (My Brussels) 2011 –


Mare Sabolotny (1990) is an Estonian writer. She started her literary career in 2006, when her novel, written at the age of 15, gained second place in the youth novel competition organized by Estonian Children’s Literature Centre (now the Estonian section of IBBY) and publishing house Tänapäev. The book deals with teenage depression, alienation from the society and the older generation, and an unexpected encounter with HIV. The novel was published in 2007. Soon enough, she, as one of the youngest writers in Estonia, teamed up with Rein Agur, one of the oldest directors in Estonia, and VAT theatre to bring the book on stage. „Kirjaklambritest vöö“ („Paperclip belt“) premiered in April 2010. The piece was created in collaboration with European project Platform 11+. The director won the prominent Salme Reek’s award for this piece in 2011. The project also contained workshops on the book and an independent adoption of the book by the pupils of Tallinn’s 32nd High School.

Her second book „Peaaegu inimene“(„Almost a human“) was published in May 2011. Also on the topic of youths, this book takes another direction talking about the struggle of survival of city youth, based on true accounts. The title refers to the 16-year-old main character who finds herself in a conundrum where she has to take the responsibilities of an adult, as besides herself, she has to feed her jobless and deprived mother.Mare Sabolotny has also published short-stories and critique in literary magazines and newspapers. She was born 6 September 1990 in Tallinn, Estonia. She studied at Gustav Adolf Grammar School 1997-2009. As of 2010 she is obtaining a BA degree in the field of Romance languages and cultures in Tallinn University.


Arlette van Laar was born on 13 november 1973 in the old Roman city Utrecht in Holland. In 1999 she graduated at the internationally acclaimed Design Akademie in Eindhoven. Her creative work since the beginning has merged the worlds of theatre and the visual arts. After her graduation she continued making installations and performances on international art- and theaterfestivals. She initiated projects and invited writers and other artists from different disiplines. In 2006 she worked in Thailand for an international export label in jewelry. There she found a way how to mix the technical skills of o.a malt ( mal-) making with design. Arlette fell in love with Asia and after her experience in Thailand she moved on to Cambodia to work with orphans and homeless children making object theatre on location. Her care was to plan recreational projects for youngsters grown up in a traumatized land where the Kmer Rouge killed one fourth of the population.

pic taken by Leo Butnaru, Jermuk 23rd of October

Arlette is now living and working in Amsterdam and Brussel. With Serge van Duijnhoven she often performs together in a creative mixture of literature, theater and foodperformance. In the beginning of  2011 they made a  theater tour together to honour the late French singer-songwriter Serge Gainsbourg who died in 1991.


Born in 1970 in an industrial town in Holland, Serge van Duijnhoven came to literature via post-industrial culture, through an interest in nightlife (The Palace of Sleep, 1993) and techno (Poets Don’t Dance, 1995). Not content simply to publish his poems, he performs them live, accompanied by his literary group, against a backdrop of electronic music and video images. He loves to combine words and music, and has included CDs along with some of his works of fiction and non-fiction. He is the founder of the artistic magazine MillenniuM, a contributor to various Belgian and Dutch periodicals (e.g. de Morgen, De Groene Amsterdammer, Vrij Nederland).

Van Duijnhoven worked as a war-correspondent in Sarajevo, won the “Nova Malekodonia” prize (1995) and was one of the passengers on board the “Literature Express Europe 2000”. Currently he lives and works in Brussels and Cannes as a senior cinema critic for the International Feature Agency as well as for his own company Cinema Redux. For both agencies, Serge publishes articles about film and interviews with directors and actors that are being published worldwide. So far, the author has published thirteen books of poetry and prose, fiction and non-fiction. His latest collection of short stories is entitled The Summer Still to Come (2007). This very year two of Serge’s latest books were published. The first is called Bitterzoet (2011). It contains a short biography and an ample dose of razorsharp lyrics, due as a literary hommage to the renowkn French cult hero Serge Gainsbourg who died twenty years ago. Serge’s most recent publication What I see I cannot be, contains almost Taoist discoveries of nature by means of poetry, prose and stunning pictures by the acclaimed Dutch landscape photographer L.J.A.D. Creyghton. A new novel is in the making.







Living on the island of Corse, Serge Venturini is a poet and teacher. « Nuage rouge », comme on le surnomme, Serge Venturini n’est pas un brasier de colère, mais un éveilleur de lucide conscience. Ses traductions d‘Alexandre Blok, d’Anna Akhmatova, de Sayat-Nova et d’autres, ses hommages à Missak Manouchian, renseignent sur son empathie pour « la poétique de résistance », vers ceux qui se tiennent debout à l’orée des mots.

Venturini’s books deal, in the broadest sence, with the struggle of existence. Air, earth, water and most of all fire have a peculiar importance in his works. The Resistance of poetry lies at the heart of his daily fights in favour off a rebellious speech, freer and freer, more and more opene up. Serge translated into French Sayat-Nova’s and Charents’ poems.



Sayat-Nova, Odes arméniennes (traduction des 47 odes), avec Élisabeth Mouradian, Éditions L’Harmattan,

Fulguriances et autres figures (1980-2007), Éditions L’Harmattan

Eclats d’une poétique du devenir humain (1976-1999) Éditions L’Harmattan

Éclats d’une poétique du devenir transhumain, 2003-2008 (Livre III), Éditions L’Harmattan

Eclats d’une poétique du devenir Journal du transvisible Livre 4 (2007-2009) Éditions L’Harmattan

Avant tout et en dépit de tout, poèmes de 2000 à 2010, Éditions L’Harmattan

Tcharents, 2011, Éditions L’Harmattan


Born in Tuebingen (Germany). Since 2007 Professor for literature, creative writing, media studies at the University of Applied Studies Duesseldorf. Currently living in Istanbul, while having a sabbatical during which she aspires to finish some of her projects, not having reckoned with the noise and turmoil life creates on a quasi-permanent basis in a metropolis of fifteen million inhabitants. Great cat-connaisseur and sharp rationalist with a highly critical mind that is processing data at the highest speed.

Philosophical inclinations collide in her poetry with creative inner forces of a much less logical nature. Linguistical and syntactical radicalism, match with a thorough understream of text, context and the intertwining realm of the subconscious. Presented radio programs in Urdu, while living in India. Feels lonely only in the company of other specima of the “two legged” race she – unfortunately – has to belong to. Favorite word in correspondance: BUT. Puts things non-stop in different perspectives, turns all matters around, displaces it from too obvious corners. Aspires deeply for Simurgh’s omnivoyant eye.


Writer,  poet, film-critic, intellectual, gentleman. World champion in the art of toasting, for consecutive years 2001 – 2011. Has the twinkle in his eye, that reflects the ongoing motion of a highly critical but also spiritfull mind. If one would ask Davit what the  very first thing would be, he usually thought of in the morning, while waking up (The next line to write or loved one to greet and kiss) Davit would answer without a second of hesitation: first, let me have my smoke! He who so passionately knows how to inhale the fumes of tabacco, can for a short while make time come to a standstill. With the rush of nicotin that, while taking a deep breath, illuminates our mind, new ideas, words, articles and books have come to light that otherwise would have remained invisible deep inside the vascular system of our body.  Unactivated ammunition.

pic taken by Leo Butnaru monday 24th of October in Yerevan

pic taken by Leo Butnaru monday 24th of October in Yerevan

Davit Muradyan was born in 1951. Has been published since 1969. Writer, film critic. Laureate of the Golden Pen award, Professor of Yerevan Theater and Cinema State Institute. During the last ten years D. Muradyan has published the following books:
– Trains and stations 2001, Europe on the wheels 2002, Our old piano 2003, A right for the heritage 2005, Orchestra in the waiting hall 2006, Exegesis of dreams 2009. D. Muradyan’s works have been translated into Russian, Ukrainian, Georgian, Tadjik, Romanian, German languages.
His plays have been broadcasted by Public TV and Radio of Armenia, and were on the stages of many Armenian theaters.


David Matevossian (1966) is – apart from being the main host and coordinator of the Literary Ark projects of 2001 and 2011 – most of all a  director of films and documentaries as well as a close associate at the Golden Apricot Filmfestival in Yerevan. Born in 1966 as son of one of the most respected writers of Armenia (Hrant Matevossian), David quite naturally found a way to carve out his own artistic path in life. Matevossian graduated from the School of Oriental Studies, at Yerevan state University, and worked for a while as a diplomat in Iran. Once back in Armenia, he started to explore the worlds of media and film and was employed by a tv-channel where he quietly could learn the craft of editing, producing and directing.

David Matevossian with daughter Shaghik

David Matevossian with daughter Shaghik

In 2000 David was one of the Armenian organizors and coordinators who boarded the Literature Express on its way through Europe, thus establishing countless valuable friendships and contacts without which the Literary Ark Festivals probably never wood have been so fruitfull as an event that is attended by guests from all over the continent. In 2002, David founded with Serge van Duijnhoven Ararat Films & Music, in an attempt to get foot on the ground for his and other Armenian’s feature projects in the field of film and animation, as well as of (film)music. The Rotterdam Film Festival hosted David as a welcome talent, but the costly business of realizing filmprojects, no matter how well they are written, meant a rescheduling of plans on a more basic level back in Armenia. Nonwithstanding the minimal means with which he had to work, he directed several projects, a few clips, a documentary and an animated series with quotes from world literature for Unesco that can be seen by children as well as adults. His short feature The Enemies was produced in 2007. Davids most recent filmprojecthas won an international prize of encouragement. However, he is waiting for three years already to direct the script; the budget that had been promised to him in the wake of his price never reached the filmset.


The Two (1991), Liberty (1992), Polyphone, Cinematograph, On the threshold (2000-2003), Peoples’ Planet (2003), The Enemies (2007)


2010 – Best web-site (www.hrantmatevossian.org), ELBA electronic content annual competition, Armenia.

2008 – Best Short Feature Film, Pomegranate Film Festival, Toronto, for “The Enemies” (produced and directed by David Matevossian).

2008-Best Male Character to Ashot Adamyan in mono performance Metsamor (Produced and directed by David Matevossian), Artavazd national theater annual awards, Armenia.


Lives in Genova (Italy). Is appreciated in Italy but also outside of his homecountry, for his poetic performances in countless literary festivals in Europe, Latin America and Asia. His poems have been translated into more than 10 languages, and have  appeared in important anthologies and magazines of international contemporary poetry. Founded “il circulo de la poesia”, a travelling show of performing poets who can easily combine magic with poetry.

On stage, people remarked, Claudio becomes a different person. Without weight, part of the surrounding air that is trembling from the soundwaves of his voice and the postures of his symbolical bodily movements. On stage, Claudio becomes poetry incarnate. Et incarnatus est. Off stage, he drastically returns behind his persona of the kind, sensible and somewhat melancholical gentiluomo with the piercing blue eyes. Lapus lazuli, softened through a slighter patch of emerald and grey. A pattern we can rarely find, but in the marble statues of Praxiteles from Paros.


Born in village Negureni, district Orhei, Republic of Moldova (5. I. 1949). Is the author of numerous poems and stories. His most famous books of prose are “The angel and the seamstress” (1997), “The lamp and the mirror” (2001) and “The last trip of the Ulysses” (2008). Prolific picture catcher, with a sincere passion for oldschool radicalism of the modernist and futurist kind.  The borders of any secure and stable structure should be tested. This is a prime and sacred task of every modern poet who has not become cynical or spoilt by massmedia or the wealth of our western consumersociety.

Member of the Writers’ Union of Romania (1994). Founding member of the PEN Center of Moldova. Between years 1997-2005 – president of Chisinau Branch of the Writers’ Union of Romania. Member of Council of Writers’ Union of Romania. Leo Butnaru has persistently sought for the best of methods, by means of literature and with nothing but the help of his hands and his brain, to ignite the forces of disruption that slumber underneath the surface of each page of poetry or prose. Nota bene: it has to be a paper print, electronic publications do not have this ability to cause chemical reactions of such kind. Leo is as much a craftsman, a wordsmith, as he is a literary sergeant who masters the skill of his weaponry. But what he is out for, is not brute force or violence, or victory over the enemy. Leo seeks, on the contrary, an inner flame of human love to be ignited. How? By rubbing images and metaphores repeatedly and with force against one another. By turning around and around seperate sentences,  until the words get overheated and mixed with one another. Until the skin of every word and syllable that stands in line, has been rubbed against the other. Leo Butnaru’s final credo, in the face of his literary duty: “Parlons feu!” Let’s talk fire. And, by saying so, to have it!



Writer’s blog full of pictures and texts, with a special section dedicated to the Literary Ark festival in Armenia.


Currently manages theatrical activity at non-typical venues like museums and open air performances. Is the director of the steady theatre activity of the Royal Castle, Warsaw. Vice president of the Polish Centre of ITI, the International Theatre Institute.

pic taken by Leo Butnaru

pic taken by Leo Butnaru

HAAKAN SANDELL (to be confirmed)


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