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Hovannisian is a recipient of the Fulbright Fellowship in Creative Writing and the Lynton Award for Book Writing. A graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles, and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, he lives in Los Angeles, California, and Yerevan, Armenia. He has written for the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and other publications.
Hovannisian is the author of the 2010 book Family of Shadows: A century of murder, memory, and the Armenian American dream (ISBN 978-0-06-1-79208-3). The book tells the story of his family, beginning with the Armenian Genocide and concluding with his father's run for presidency.
1915 The Movie, a drama and psychological thriller was released on the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide in April 2015, has been produced and co-written/directed by Hovannisian.
In 2017 Hovannisian founded Creative Armenia, a hybrid of a production company and arts foundation.
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