On June 17, hybooksonline.com, a newly established publisher specializing in the publication of electronic books (e-books), released Anna Astvatsaturian Turcotte’s Nowhere, a Story of Exile, which chronicles her lost childhood in Azerbaijan.
In 1988, Astvatsaturian Turcotte was a 10-year-old girl living in the seaside city of Baku, in the Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan. Like any other young girl, she had childhood aspirations, crushes, and dreams. That entire life was swept away as the majority Muslim Azeri population drove the minority Christian Armenians out of the country using terror and violence. Her family was forced to flee to Armenia, a neighboring republic still reeling from the massive earthquake and unprepared for the hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing Azeri-orchestrated pogroms. Once there, she found herself an outsider—a nation-less girl surviving in an unheated basement and facing discrimination again, this time by her own people.
Nowhere, a Story of Exile is a riveting, heart-wrenching story told through a personal medium— Astvatsaturian Turcotte’s diary entries that documented the organized terror in Baku, her life as a refugee, and her struggle to find herself, all against the backdrop of the collapse of the Soviet Union. The author gives a voice to the horrific tragedy little reported in the West, to the Armenian population of Azerbaijan, and to the child victims of ethnic cleansing everywhere.
Anna Astvatsaturian Turcotte came to the U.S. as an Armenian refugee from Baku in 1992, and became a U.S. citizen in 1997. She now holds a law degree and was one of the first Americans to clerk for the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, after observing its creation at the United Nations. She is married and has two children.