William Saroyan International Prize For 2008 Linked With Writer’s Ce


Stanford Report
Aug 22 2007

The third William Saroyan International Prize for Writing (also known
as the Saroyan Prize) will coincide with the California writer’s
centennial celebrations in 2008. The $12,500 biennial prize, awarded
for fiction and non-fiction, is sponsored by Stanford University
Libraries in partnership with the William Saroyan Foundation.

Entries must be received on or before January 31, 2008. The English
language works must be available for purchase in book form by
the general public and published during the 2005-2007 period. The
judges will consider literary fiction (including novels, short story
collections and drama) and literary non-fiction (biography, history
and memoirs) of any length. They will be looking for strong literary
merit that honors the Saroyan legacy, with particular interest in
non-fiction in the Saroyan tradition-memoirs, portraits and excursions
into neighborhood and community. Winners will be publicly recognized
at the centennial celebrations on Sept. 5, 2008. Official entry forms
and rules are available at

The first William Saroyan International Prize for Writing was awarded
in 2003 to Jonathan Safran Foer for his novel Everything is Illuminated
(Houghton Mifflin, 2002). The second Saroyan Prize, awarded in 2005,
was the first to be offered for both fiction and non-fiction. George
Hagen received the fiction prize for his novel The Laments (Random
House, 2004); the non-fiction prize went to Mark Arax and Rick Wartzman
for The King of California (Public Affairs, 2005).

The William Saroyan Foundation, officially founded by Saroyan in 1966,
decided in 1990 to bring together the entire literary estate into a
single archive. The trustees eventually offered Stanford University
the assembled Saroyan literary collection.

"The Saroyan Prize is an integral part of the library’s ongoing and
active involvement with the Saroyan archive, but it also provides a
wonderful opportunity for Stanford students and alumni, as well as
literati everywhere, to interact actively with the emerging literary
figures of our time," said Michael A. Keller, Stanford University
Librarian. "We are particularly pleased to be offering the prize
during this centennial celebration of Saroyan’s birth, when so much
attention is being given to Saroyan’s life and work."

"The Saroyan Foundation is pleased to be involved in fulfilling
Saroyan’s dream of establishing a writing prize to encourage and
perpetuate the art he so loved," said Haig Mardikian, president of
the William Saroyan Foundation. "Saroyan not only had a great passion
for writing, he also was an accomplished visual abstract artist; so
it is particularly fitting that this award is being granted during
the Saroyan centennial celebrations where we are commemorating many
of Saroyan’s artistic achievements."

The Fresno-born Saroyan, an American writer and playwright, was
a Pulitzer Prize and Academy Award winner best known for his short
stories about humorous experiences of immigrant families and children
in California. Much of Saroyan’s work is clearly autobiographical,
although similar in style and technique to fiction. Saroyan was the
fourth child of Armenian immigrants. He battled his way through poverty
and rose to literary prominence in the early 1930s when national
magazines began publishing his short stories, including "The Daring
Young Man on the Flying Trapeze," "My Name Is Aram," "Inhale & Exhale,"
"Three Times Three" and "Peace, It’s Wonderful." Saroyan wrote plays
for Broadway and screenplays for Hollywood, including My Heart’s in
the Highlands, The Time of Your Life, The Beautiful People and The
Human Comedy.


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