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Zabel Yessayan: In the Ruins

Judith Saryan

Judy Saryan discusses the story behind Yessayan’s influential book.

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July 2018


Zabel Yessayan: In the Ruins

A testament to her lifelong commitment to the fight for social justice and human rights, In the Ruins is Zabel Yessayan’s masterpiece about the 1909 massacres of Armenians in Adana. The book combines personal observation and survivor testimony in a searing account of the devastation and destruction Yessayan witnessed in the wake of the massacres, serving as a warning for the future of the Ottoman Empire. Here, Judy Saryan discusses the story behind the book and why it resonated so deeply at the time of its publication.


Judith Saryan embarked on a career in publishing, editing and writing after 37 years in finance. In partnership with the Armenian International Women's Association (AIWA), she helped to publish three works in English translation by Zabel Yessayan. Ms. Saryan also recently started a blog, where one of her recent entries entitled The Swallow is about her grandmother who was a refugee in Syria.