September 17 – September 24, 2009 Edition

William Saroyan Prize Calls for Entries

(Authorlink News, September 17, 2009)–Stanford University Libraries, in partnership with the William Saroyan Foundation, announced has launched the fourth William Saroyan International Prize for Writing (Saroyan Prize). Intended to encourage new or emerging writers and honor the Saroyan literary legacy of originality, vitality and stylistic innovation, the Saroyan Prize recognizes newly published works of both fiction and non-fiction. A prize of $5,000 will be awarded in each of these categories.

Literary fiction, including novels, short story collections, and drama, will be eligible for consideration for the Saroyan Fiction Prize. Literary non-fiction of any length is eligible for consideration for the SaroyanNon-fiction Prize, most particularly writing in the Saroyan tradition: memoirs, portraits and excursions into neighborhood and community. Entries in either category are limited to English language publications that are available for individual purchase by the general public. Entries must be received on or before January 31, 2010. Official entry forms and rules are available at

Michael A. Keller, Stanford University Librarian noted “We are excited to once again be awarding The Saroyan Prize. The Saroyan archive is a gem in the Libraries’ Special Collections department and we are thrilled to be able to honor Saroyan’s legacy through the award.” Keller commented on the involvement of Stanford alumni in evaluating entries: “It has proven exciting to bring together a cadre of alumni for the winnowing process. We know that Stanford’s alumni appreciate the opportunity for active and continued engagement with emerging literary figures, and we in turn are energized by their engagement and enthusiasm.”

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. The fiction prize was awarded to George Hagenfor his novel The Laments (Random House, 2004), and the non-fiction prize went to Mark Arax and Rick Wartzman for The King of California (Public Affairs, 2005). The third Saroyan Prize, awarded in 2008, coincided with the centennial of Saroyan’s birth. The fiction prize was awarded to Nicole Krauss, a Stanford alumna, for her novel The History of Love (W. W. Norton, 2005). The non-fiction prize was awarded to Kiyo Sato for Dandelion Through the Crack (Willow Valley Press, 2007). The fiction finalists were Pamela Erens for The Understory (Ironweed Press, 2007) and Richard Lange for Dead Boys (Little, Brown, 2007). The non-fiction finalists were Adam David Miller for Ticket to Exile (Heyday Books, 2007) and John Moir forReturn of the Condor (The Lyons Press, 2006).

William 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 other 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, most notably The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze. Published collections of those stories include, My Name Is AramInhale & Exhale, Three Times Three, and Peace, It’s Wonderful. Saroyan also had success as a playwright on Broadway and a writer of screenplays in Hollywood. His notable successes include: My Heart’s in the HighlandsThe Time of Your LifeThe Beautiful People, and The Human ComedyThe Time of Your Life was awarded the Pulitzer.

Stanford University Libraries & Academic Information Resources supports the teaching, learning and research mandates of the University through delivery of bibliographic and other information resources and services to faculty, students and staff. It is tackling the challenges of the digital age while continuing the development, preservation and conservation of its extensive print, media and manuscript collections.

The William Saroyan Foundation was founded by the author on December 30, 1966 and remains active under a Board of Trustees. Commencing in 1990, the Trustees set a goal of bringing together into one single archive his entire literary estate. A decision was finally made by the Trustees to offer Stanford University the assembled Saroyan Literary Collection with provisions that would safeguard in perpetuity one of the rare treasure troves in American literature, carrying on the legacy of Fresno, California’s own native son, William Saroyan.