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Prince of Wentworth Street

April 24 marked the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide in Turkey. This dark period in our world’s history is an event that the Turkish government, to this day, not only doesn’t recognize but silences people who do with arcane criminal laws. Very little is written about this cataclysmic time in history.

When journalist John Christie found himself struggling in his own life, he decided to use his investigative skills as a journalist to turn the lens on his own history. What he discovered about his family’s past opened his eyes to a world he could have never imagined, a world lived in the shadow of genocide.

In 1909 Christie’s grandmother, Gulenia Hovsepian, was a nine-year-old girl in Turkey. One day she was sent by her family to herd cows on a hill above her village. A boy ran up to her warning there were armed men coming for people like her and by the end of the day her father was murdered and the rest of her family went into hiding.

In Christie’s memoir, “The Prince of Wentworth Street,” he recounts a childhood of learning from his grandmother Gulenia about the obstacles and triumphs she experienced. Christie recounts the stories his grandmother told him about fleeing Turkey in 1919 when she was only nineteen-years-old. She came to America as a mail order bride after World War I. She not only braved the Great Depression but raised six children on her own after her husband’s unexpected passing. She then watched her own children go off to war.

Christie’s life in juxtaposition was sheltered. As Gulenia’s first grandchild, he grew up at the end of a dead-end street in a tenement in Dover, New Hampshire, as the golden child. Not facing the struggles his grandmother endured but hearing her vivid tales of triumph in the face of adversity allowed him to find strength in her legacy.

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JOHN CHRISTIE is an award-winning veteran journalist who has been a reporter, editor and publisher for major news organizations in Massachusetts, Florida and Maine, including Dow Jones, Tribune and the Seattle Times companies. As a reporter, he has specialized in political and investigative reporting, including five years covering the Massachusetts state house. His editing career includes editing two Pulitzer Prize finalists and working as one of the first newspaper writing coaches in the country. He was the vice president for strategic planning at the 300,000 circulation South Florida Sun Sentinel and from 2000-2009 was the publisher of two daily newspapers in Maine, the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel. When he retired from there, he co-founded with his wife, Naomi Schalit, the non-profit investigative news service, Pine Tree Watch. He is a graduate in the University of New Hampshire, which in 2014 honored him my naming him the Donald M. Murray Visiting Journalist. In the same year, the New England Academy of Journalists awarded him the Yankee Quill for his lifetime contribution to journalism. Christie and his wife live in Gloucester, Massachusetts, where he began his career in journalism 50 years ago.