22. ilb 07. - 17.09.2022

Varujan Vosganian

Portrait Varujan Vosganian
© Hartwig Klappert

Varujan Vosganian was born in Craiova, Romania in 1958. He studied commerce at the Academy of Economic Studies and mathematics at the University of Bucharest, earning his doctorate in economics from the latter in 1998. He is a conservative politician, has been president of the Union of Armenians in Romania since 1990 and was a member of the Chamber of Deputies between 1990 and 1996. He has been a member of the Romanian senate since 1996 (with a hiatus from 2000 to 2004), having also served as minister of economy and commerce between 2006 and 2007, minister of economy and finance from 2007 to 2008, and as minister of economy from 2012 to 2013.

Along with non-fiction works on economics, such as »Contradicțiile tranziției la o economie de piață« (1994; tr. Contradictions in the transition to the market economy), and on politics, like »Dreapta Românească. Tradiție și Modernitate« (2001; tr. The Romanian right. Tradition and modernity), Vosganian has also published many essays and literary texts, such as a volume of short stories »Statuia Comandorului (1994; tr. The statue of the commander) and the collection of poems »Iisus cu o mie de brațe« (2004; tr. Jesus with a thousand arms). Vosganian gained renown beyond the boundaries of Romania with his novel »Cartea șoaptelor« (2009; tr. Book of whispering), which was translated into Italian, Spanish, Swedish, German, among other languages. As Vosganian’s forebears survived the Ottoman genocide of the Armenians, this book is a kind of family chronicle describing how, in the course of several generations, the paths of numerous real and fictional characters crossed in the Romanian city of Focsani. Reviews of the novel have all remarked on the author’s ability to expose almost forgotten injustices movingly and humorously, from the massacres of Trabzon to the Soviet-organized repatriation of thousands of Armenians. The »Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung« also praised the poetic expressiveness of these interwoven stories, whose laconic narrative style prevents the merest trace of sentimentality inherent in such themes from arising, and called the novel a »book of the century« which would go down in literary history. »Jocul celor o suta de Frunze si alte povestiri« (tr. The game of a hundred leaves), a novel about the trauma of political change in Romania, was published in 2013.

In addition to his political work, Vosganian is a member of the Romanian Humorists’ Association and has been the vice president of the Writers’ Union of Romania since 2005. He lives in Bucharest.