Georgian Literature Reading Series

As part of our mission to promote Georgian culture, we were pleased to launch the “Virtual Georgian Literature Reading Series.” The goal of the series is to create an informal and interactive forum for those with an interest in Georgian history and culture to read and discuss important Georgian books, both classic and contemporary.

Spring 2024

Building on our virtual Georgian Literature Series, the Georgian Association in the United States, in partnership with the Embassy of Georgian to the United States, is delighted to host an in-person reading group focused on the works of Ilia Chavchavadze in Washington, DC.

Ilia’s writings have had immeasurable influence in shaping the Georgian identity and nation, and his dedication to a free and democratic Georgia remains a source of inspiration. Through an informal and friendly forum, our reading group will examine Ilia’s hopes for political and moral change in Georgia, and what it meant to him to be Georgian, both as an individual and as a citizen of a democratic society. (Registration is currently closed)

Schedule and readings: The reading group will meet on a bi-weekly basis for a total of four sessions to discuss the following stories, poems, and letters.  

  • Tuesday, April 2, 5:30-7:00pm | კაცია-ადამიანი?!; სარჩობელაზედ; ჩვენი ხალხი და განათლება; პედაგოგიის საფუძვლები
  • Tuesday, April 16, 5:30-7:00pm | მგზავრის წერილები; გლახის ნაამბობი; ოსმალოს საქართველო; ქართველი სტუდენტობა რუსეთში  
  • Tuesday, April 30, 5:30-7:00pm | ოთარაანთ ქვრივი; ისევ განათლების საკითხზე; მეცხრამეტე საუკუნე  
  • Tuesday, May 14, 5:30-7:00pm | განდეგილი; რა გითხრათ? Რით გაგახაროთ?; საახალწლოდ

Reading material: Only a few of Ilia’s writings have been translated into English, and consequently, participants will need to read the material in Georgian. We will be using this print publication by Palitra, but all the assigned material is also available online as PDFs or audiobooks via the following websites: (limited number of complimentary print copies will be made available by the Georgian Embassy and distributed on the first come, first served basis). 

Discussion format and language: In the spirit of Ilia’s belief in independent thought and reflection, the meetings will be discussion-based and rely on the active participation of the members. Our aim is to create an interactive and friendly environment where participants will engage with Ilia’s ideas and each other in a relaxed yet meaningful manner. To make the discussion more welcoming for those who can read Georgian but may feel reluctant to participate if the conversation is strictly in Georgian, we will conduct meetings in a mix of English and Georgian. Valerian Sikhuashvili, a member of the Georgian Association’s Board of Directors, will facilitate the discussions. 

Summer 2022
Guram Dochanashvili’s The First Garment (სამოსელი პირველი)

We are delighted to announce that the next edition of the “Georgian Literature Reading Series” will discuss Guram Dochanashvili’s novel The First Garment (სამოსელი პირველი). For this edition of our series, the meetings will be conducted in Georgian – though you don’t need to be a native speaker to join us. There will be a total of 4 meetings virtually via Zoom on Saturdays from 10:00am to 11:15am ET on the following dates: July 16, July 30, August 13, and August 27. 

Meetings will be discussion-based and facilitated by Georgian theater and film director, professor Manana Anasashvili, who is currently teaching this novel at Ilia State University. As before, our goal will be to create an informal/interactive forum that allows the participants to share their thoughts about the book. To help make the digital environment as interactive as it can be, participants will be asked to enable their device’s video functionality and have it on during the meetings. The book can be accessed in Georgian on Saba book app as an e-book — Georgian Association might also be able to assist in accessing a PDF version of the book for those who sign up.  

Registration is now closed

— About the Book —
The novel follows a young, inexperienced, adventure-seeking man named Domenico who is deeply affected by the appearance and stories of a mysterious refugee in his village, and thus decides to take his inheritance and leave the village to go on adventuring. In this novel, traditional motifs of good, evil, love, morality, and the like are illuminated in a new light and unfold as a dramatic narrative against a background of an odd merging of humor and aesthetics.

Spring 2022
Mikheil Javakhishvili’s Kvachi Kvachantiradze

The second edition of the series discussed Mikheil Javakhishvili’s classic novel Kvachi Kvachantiradze. Members of the Association’s Board of Directors, Stephen Jones and Valerian Sikhuashvili, led the sessions.

— About the Book —
An epic landmark of Georgian literature, Javakhishvili’s novel was published in 1925, 12 years before its author’s murder in the Stalinist Purges; but given its treatment of the Russian elite, it’s a grim marvel he was able to escape the authorities so long. Kvachi Kvachantiradze is a born conman, a wily and indefatigable survivor—as much a distillation of the Georgian character as a great anti-hero in his own right. Beginning as a charismatic youth on the outskirts of Tbilisi, Kvachi demonstrates a taste for money and a talent for obtaining it, posing as a noble after traveling to Russia to seek his fortune.

— Additional/background Reading —
– Charles King. The Ghost of Freedom: A History of the Caucasus.
– Stephen Jones. The Making of Modern Georgia, 1918-2012: The First Georgian Republic and Its Successors.
– Stephen Kotkin. Stalin, Volume I: Paradoxes of Power, 1878-1928.

Summer 2020
Nino Haratischvili’s The Eighth Life.

The first edition of the series discussed Nino Haratischvili’s internationally acclaimed novel The Eighth Life. Members of the Association’s Board of Directors, Stephen Jones and Valerian Sikhuashvili, led the sessions. The association will provide complimentary copies of the book to those who are currently undergraduate students.

— About the Book —
At the start of the twentieth century, on the edge of the Russian empire, a family prospers. It owes its success to a delicious chocolate recipe, passed down the generations with great solemnity and caution. A caution which is justified: this is a recipe for ecstasy that carries a very bitter aftertaste… Stasia learns it from her Georgian father and takes it north, following her new husband, Simon, to his posting at the center of the Russian Revolution in St Petersburg. Stasia’s is only the first in a symphony of grand but all too often doomed romances that swirl from sweet to sour in this epic tale of the red century. Tumbling down the years, and across vast expanses of longing and loss, generation after generation of this compelling family hears echoes and sees reflections.