2016 Coil Book Award: Aline Ohanesian’s ‘Orhan’s Inheritance’

The Coil
The Coil
Published in
5 min readDec 31, 2016


Alternating Current is proud to present Aline Ohanesian’s ‘Orhan’s Inheritance’ as the winner of the 2016 Coil Book Award.

We are pleased to announce the winner for the 2016 Coil Book Award, honoring the independent press’ best published book of 2014–2016, Orhan’s Inheritance, by Aline Ohanesian. The winner is selected by an external panel that reads and judges all the entrants from independent presses in all our annual book contests — as well as all books reviewed on and submitted to The Volt over the previous two years — and chooses one book or collection that shows outstanding merit, language, uniqueness, promise, importance, and voice. The external judges’ decisions are final.

Our aim is to bring attention to an annual book that has incredible literary merit and appeals to a wider audience than it may have been able to reach, due to an ever-expanding, competitive market for indie presses. We want to help fantastic books reach the new and bigger audience they deserve, and reward indie presses with added promotion and support for releasing superior work. Presses, authors, publicists, and otherwise are welcome to submit their books for next year’s award (with 2015-2017 publication dates) HERE. Self-published books, short story collections, nonfiction, poetry, and books published within the previous two years are also accepted.

The winning book gains entrance into our Coil Select Books collection, and receives book promotion through Alternating Current, including publicity, reviews, book club giveaways and discussions, blog tours, and author spotlights and interviews. The 2016 winner receives an engraved medal, a cash honorarium, sponsored gifts, a listing on the Coil Book Award page, spotlight features on The Coil and through our partners, a 5-stop blog tour, Alternating Current Press discounts, and our virtual wax seal for personal and professional use on the author’s websites, blogs, and book covers. We proudly present the 2016 winner:

Orhan’s Inheritance
Algonquin Books • April 2015

JUDGES’ & STAFF NOTES ON THE SELECTION: This year we were particularly looking for a book that did more than just tell a good story. We also wanted one that had an undercurrent of importance, necessity, and urgency, with a historical bent or message that paralleled today’s society. We couldn’t have imagined that we’d find a book that had all of those elements and a great, unexpected story and tight, precise prose. This book is exactly what America’s readers in our current time need to be reading. It’s uncomfortable, upfront, and often painful, and yet it weaves a thread of warmth through it that leaves you with hope for a better day — a feeling that we will find a way to overcome pain, wrongdoings, war, and the burying of a mass genocide from complacency, ignorance, and propaganda. We are proud to stand behind this beautiful, significant book to help it reach a new audience.

Orhan’s Inheritance, published by Algonquin Press, was chosen as a № 1 Indie Next Pick for April 2015, Amazon Editors’ Featured Debut for April 2015, a Summer 2015 Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Selection, and a 2015 Goodreads Choice Debut Author Finalist. The book is Ohanesian’s first novel and centers around a young man, Orhan, who’s inherited the family dye business after the death of his grandfather, only to discover that the rest of the family estate has been willed to an 87-year-old stranger living stateside. Orhan must find out the secrets of this stranger, her relationship to his grandfather, and some dark truths about his family, government, and the religious beliefs of two opposing peoples when the story butts up against the ugly background of the long-buried and long-denied Armenian Genocide. Through meticulous research and vibrant characters, Orhan’s Inheritance tackles the Genocide in a way that is equally understandable, human, horrific, and touching. If you are scratching your head right now, saying, “I know very little, if anything at all, about the Armenian Genocide,” then please do yourself a favor and get this book. Critics have called Orhan’s Inheritance “a lament disguised as a romance, a narrative in which the reclamation of a family home, the weaves of carpets, even the scent of a handkerchief come to represent a private version of a much larger historical tragedy” (New York Times Book Review) and a “rich, tragic, compelling” book “realized with deep care and insight” (Elle). This is definitely not a book to be missed.

Photo Credit: Raffi Hadidian

Aline Ohanesian’s great-grandmother was a survivor of the Armenian Genocide. Her history was the kernel for the story that Ohanesian tells in the novel. Ohanesian was a finalist for the PEN/Bellwether Prize for Fiction and Glimmer Train’s Short Story Award for New Writers. She lives and writes in San Juan Capistrano, California, with her husband and two young sons.

Orhan’s Inheritance is available in hardcover, paperback and all digital formats through Algonquin Books’ website, and through major distributors, such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Ingram for booksellers (ISBN: 978–1–61620–374–0). Please, support a great author and a great press, and treat yourself to a copy.

Congratulations, as well, to our Finalists:

Go by Brendan Walsh
The Walled Wife by Nicelle Davis
We Love You, Charlie Freeman by Kaitlyn Greenidge
Why Is It so Hard to Kill You? by Barrett Warner
Kinda Sorta American Dream by Steve Karas
Blood Song by Michael Schmeltzer



The Coil
The Coil

Indie press dedicated to lit that challenges readers & has a sense of self, timelessness, & atmosphere. Publisher of @CoilMag #CoilMag (http://thecoilmag.com)