Saturday, 14 December

Shady Vote: 2013 Orange Book Prize Finalist Cries Foul

The latest twist in the ongoing brouhaha regarding possible vote rigging in the 2013 Orange Book Prize Award is a call Hetq received by the author who received the most online votes claiming that the vote was fair up till the final round.

The phone call was made by Annik Khachatryan, the author who garnered the most votes out of the 13, 025 collected.

At issue is whether or not Orange management instructed the jury to disregard the work “Toward Lifelong Freedom” one of the three finalists in the short story category. Its author is Mher Yenokyan, now serving a life sentence for murder.

Annik Khachatryan’s book “Return” was another finalist in the category. First prize was eventually awarded to “The Moth Remedy” by Narine Kroyan.

Khachatryan told Hetq she was confident that she would win and was surprised when Kroyan’s name was announced.

Khachatryan says that when she got home later that evening and turned on the news at 8pm the names of the winners were announced on a H2 TV broadcast and was flabbergasted that her name was read out as the winner in the short story category. Khachatryan says her name was also announced as the winner on the 11 pm H2 news. (She has sent Hetq video tapings)

“It’s a real Sodom and Gomorrah situation. We all know that H2 TV provided Orange with the names of the awards winners. Shame on Orange for its organized manipulation of the contest,” Khachatryan wrote Hetq.

When Hetq phoned Khachatryan the author said she wouldn’t have been so upset had Mher Yenokyan won because he wrote a great short story.

On March 29, a day after the awards were handed out, Khachatryan demanded that Orange Armenia provide her with the telephone number of Marketing Director Aram Mkrtchyan. She wanted to call him and get some answers.

Nelly, who works at Orange, is said to have told Khachatryan that her name was listed as the winner. On April 2, the Orange Armenia website published the names of the winners and Narine Kroyan’s name was listed as taking 1st prize.

Hetq once again called Orange Armenia for clarification but we were told that someone would get back to us. We are still waiting.

Top photo (from left): Orange Armenia Marketing Director Aram Mkrtchyan and Mkrtich Matevosyan

Below is the H2 TV video clip announcing Annik Khachatryan as the winner

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